ERA secretary general Michel Petitjean

ERA secretary general Michel Petitjean

New research from the European Rental Association (ERA) has highlighted the role of the equipment hire sector in improving sustainability.

It comes as the ERA, which represents more than 5,000 rental companies, called for greater recognition of the role the industry can play in helping companies improve performance in terms of sustainability. The organisation said it has concluded an initial audit of European rules and regulations that will allow it to better engage with policy makers.

To further raise the profile of the industry in the sustainability field, the ERA has chosen a theme of “Sustainability as an Opportunity” for its annual Convention, which takes place in Rome on 3 and 4 June.

The ERA said that equipment rental has intrinsic benefits with regard to sustainability, which deserve greater recognition.

It said rented equipment is used more frequently and efficiently, professional equipment rental companies are better placed to maintain high-quality servicing and operating standards, and rental companies can better liaise with manufacturers to encourage equipment design with improved sustainability performance.

The research showed that rental companies increasingly see sustainability performance as a way to increase their value to customers and distinguish themselves in the market.

For example, rental companies are insisting that original equipment manufacturers become trusted, sustainable suppliers; using monitoring technologies and hybrid power systems to reduce energy consumption; and using low-emission vehicles and introducing measures to use less fuel.

They are also improving recycling of waste and equipment.

Michel Petitjean, secretary general of the ERA, said: “Equipment rental is inherently good for sustainability. Rental companies now see an important role for their industry in helping to improve sustainability across industries.

“This is being encouraged by the requirements of their customers, and those of their customers' customers. Companies increasingly apply sustainability criteria to their supply chain.

Furthermore, original equipment manufacturers are continually developing equipment with improved environmental performance, which rental companies offer to customers.

“It’s vital that more industries and policy makers recognise this important role for our industry, and the valuable work it is doing. We look forward to emphasising this point and engaging with stakeholders throughout this year and in years ahead.”

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