Climate change continues to develop as a significant issue of ever-growing importance. The Speaker recently heard how one small business located in Norwich, Zero Taxis have adapted their business operations to help better preserve our environment.
Zero Taxis is a Norwich based taxi-firm with one key difference to many of their competitors – all of their cars are electric vehicles, making them the only firm in the city to be 100% electric. Founded by Leon Davies in August 2018, Zeros Taxis has become the top-rated taxi firm in Norwich on Google, and pride themselves on zero emissions from their cars.
In a podcast, ‘Product of our Environment’ with Kieran Miles, co-founder of the sustainable clothing brand, Duco, Leon explained the many barriers he faced when setting up the taxi firm, and why he wanted to do something different.
In the podcast, Leon admitted that before setting up the company he ‘knew nothing about taxis’ and hence he took a ‘walk before run’ approach to setting up the company, which he hopes can become the largest of its kind in the UK. On starting up, the local council had to rewrite parts of its rule book, with no such company of 100% electric vehicles operating in the city before. Starting with just one vehicle, the firm now has six vehicles in total, all purchased second hand.
Zero Taxis is different from many other taxi firms in that its vehicles are quiet and sustainable, and its fares are the lowest around. While perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing, the company uses Nissan Leaf’s made from 94.6% recycled materials. With the vehicles being electric, there are no harmful emissions. Additionally, the firm will only use charging points en route which they know utilise energy generated from either wind or solar and they charge their cars at their base using their own solar panels and storage batteries.
One may ask, why would a business adapt their operations so much to help the environment?
Recent weeks and months have seen increasing pressure on corporate firms and governments to take action on climate change. Leon, and other business owners across the country hope they can inspire others to switch to more eco-friendly operations. Leon explained how he could have gone for an easier or cheaper alternative many times when setting up the business, but stuck to core principles that would help do his bit to help save the environment.
The efforts of Leon and his team were rewarded when they won the award for Eco Small/Medium business at the Norwich and Norfolk Eco Awards earlier this year. The judges of the event said;
“This initiative marks a big leap forward in sustainable transport in the city. The move towards hybrid taxis has been really encouraging, but running an all-electric fleet brings unique challenges, and Zero Taxis have done a great job showing what’s possible.”
Leon hopes to continually develop Zero Taxis and has plans to make his premises electric also. Leon encouraged people to make small changes in the home to help the environment, such as using locally produced metal straws, rather than plastic straws. He also admitted that we all need to travel less and walk more whenever possible in order to tackle climate change.
On the subject of inspiring the next generation, Leon discussed how he felt we have a responsibility to educate young people on the impacts of climate change and how we tackle it. In particular, he noted the power of social media in helping his business share its core message.
Changing business operations to new and more environmentally friendly methods can be complicated and may also require significant time and investment. However, they are ways we can all play our part, from buying local to cut the carbon footprint and food miles, through to launching an eco-friendly service, such as Zero Taxis. Leon’s advice for anybody starting a business or making changes in aid of the environment is to “back yourself” and “do not be afraid to fail”