Get on the Green Bus 2: Assessing Company Interest in Sustainability

By: Laura Anderson, Lisa Chase, David Kestenbaum, Cristina Mastrangelo

Read part one - Get on the Green Bus!

Have you seen a green-certified bus yet? As described in last month’s Vermont Clean Cities Coalition newsletter, the motorcoach can provide an efficient option for eco-conscious consumers. However, this efficiency could be further increased by additional initiatives from bus companies. The Green Coach Certification (GCC) eco-label, currently being pilot tested at UVM, recognizes bus companies for their efforts in energy conservation, carbon reduction, use of alternative fuels, anti-idling, and recycling.

The success of such an eco-label program will partially depend upon company awareness of—and interest in—adopting environmentally sustainable practices. An online survey of motorcoach operators conducted during the summer of 2009 sought to address this issue. Over 200 members of the American Bus Association and the United Motorcoach Association responded to the survey, which asked a variety of questions about the interplay of business and environmental concerns in the motorcoach industry.

Survey results indicated strong bus company interest in an environmental certification program. Nearly 40% of respondents had heard of the GCC, and three-quarters would consider participating in such a program. Over half of motorcoach operators agreed that standardized criteria for labeling a company “green” should be introduced in the motorcoach industry. Furthermore, more than half indicated that they would be willing to change their operating procedures to meet agreed upon criteria and be recognized as green.

To gauge company awareness of environmental practices, respondents were asked how familiar they were with a number of items. Nearly all respondents had at least some familiarity with policies that limit the amount of time vehicles spend idling. Around 80% of respondents were familiar with the use of 2007 United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) compliant engines and using biodiesel as a fuel in company vehicles. On the other hand, less than half of respondents were familiar with calculating their company's carbon footprint or purchasing carbon offsets to mitigate company emissions.

Look for more details about the GCC research initiative and additional results from the Motorcoach Operator Survey in future issues of this newsletter. In the meantime, visit to learn more.

The graphs below represent results from a 2009 survey of North American motorcoach companies conducted as part of the Green Coach Certification Research Initiative.