As part of its own commitment to achieving net-zero emissions and becoming an industry partner for positive change, Coates has launched its Greener Choices range of solutions and products for hire. Coates Executive General Manager of Asset Services, Peter Davis, explains how this will provide Coates’ customers with tangible opportunities to reduce emissions, improve efficiencies and adhere to best practice environmental sustainability standards.
As Executive General Manager of Asset Services, Peter Davis leads the team who manage all of Coates’ assets throughout their lifecycle. As such, he has been instrumental in the development of the Greener Choices catalogue which is a practical resource for customers that provides them with key information about how a piece of equipment is powered and the level of emissions it produces.
“The launch of Coates Greener Choices signifies Coates’ ongoing commitment to reducing our environmental impact and that of our customers,” says Davis. “We have our own target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2040, and it’s important that we work with suppliers and customers who have the same aspirations as us when it comes to sustainability.”
Underpinned by the circular economy model, Coates Greener Choices is among the five pillars that Coates has detailed in its Sustainability Strategy. For Davis, it’s a natural progression for the equipment hire and solutions provider.
“Coates is a natural participant in the circular economy because our hire and solutions business model is inherently circular,” he says. “The way that we enact the circular economy principles means we can extract maximum value from our fleet and equipment, reduce negative impacts, optimise longevity and efficiency through repair and maintenance, and encourage recyclability and reuse at the end of life.”
Coates Greener Choices include solar-powered and hybrid lighting towers, hybrid diesel and electric boom and scissor lifts, electric and low-diesel emission engine forklifts, battery-powered hand tools and heavy equipment that can run on blended biodiesel fuel. Coates Greener Choices can be easily identified by four symbols. If customers see the symbols on zero and low emissions equipment, they can be assured that they are making a greener choice.
According to Davis, in recent years, Coates has been rapidly expanding its solar products offering and already have 2,000 solar solutions available in their Greener Choices fleet.
“We transitioned to using LED lighting towers several years ago and have continued to monitor and invest in solar and hybrid lighting solutions – we can now offer viable alternative lighting solutions to traditional diesel-powered units,” says Davis. “For example, our solar lighting towers are used for ambient lighting and are ideal for ongoing street lighting, roadworks, sports and events, or on mining and construction sites.”
Likewise, the company has an impressive range of battery-electric equipment – in fact 57 per cent of its access equipment is now considered a ‘Greener Choice’.
“Coates has had a large fleet of battery electric access equipment for decades, and we now have electric and hybrid scissor lifts and booms that suit all terrains,” says Davis. “We’re also proud to bring a range of battery electric forklifts into the Greener Choices range. Lithium-ion batteries have been a game changer when it comes to ‘fast’ charging equipment, and there’s going to be significant technology leaps in the upcoming years.”
While 15 per cent of the current Coates fleet is categorised as a Greener Choice, the company has committed to increasing this to 17.5 per cent in 2023. Davis points out that the Greener Choices range will continue to expand as technology develops and as demand for sustainable equipment grows.
“This is where Coates can deliver benefits to customers by leveraging our relationships with suppliers,” he says. “The more demand there is for sustainable equipment and alternate fuel sources, the better the choices will be, and as the largest general equipment rental company in Australia we can work with our suppliers to deliver on this.”
Davis provides an example of how Coates can help customers reduce emissions by using blended biodiesel.
“We’ve committed to supporting the use of biodiesel in all of our equipment. It’s proven to be a viable, reliable alternative fuel source to standard diesel fuel,” he explains. “We’ve been working with our fuel suppliers to make biodiesel more available. Many suppliers stipulate minimum quantities for biodiesel deliveries, but we can assist with the refuelling requirements on-site including solar-powered mobile fuel trailers or bulk fuel tanks that range from 500 to 10,000 litres.”
Davis cites another example of a Greener Choice with temporary traffic barriers that Coates has developed a way to recycle. The barriers are processed into granules, refined and then sold back to the original plastic manufacturer to create new products.
“The aim is to make our barriers part of the circular economy, which will help in reusing plastic and reducing waste,” enthuses Davis. “I’m sure our customers would love to know the traffic barriers they had on hire this year will be going back to the manufacturer to produce barriers they may hire in 10 years’ time.”
Importantly, Davis stresses that the launch of the Coates Greener Choices is just the beginning of Coates’ sustainability journey for our equipment and solutions.
“This is the first step, what’s next? We’re investing another $20 million this year into Greener Choice equipment, expected to arrive in late 2022,” he says. “We will keep working with our suppliers to grow our portfolio with new technology developments, particularly in alternative energy sources such as electrification, hydrogen, renewables and HVO fuel. Because we share such transparent and productive relationships with our OEMs, we certainly aim to influence them to transition more of our product categories to Greener Choices.”