Tuesday, October 30, 2007

North American Carsharing Organizations Agree on Code of Ethics

Leading North American carsharing organizations announced today that they will develop and adopt a code of ethics to guide and strengthen this emerging industry.

The decision was made following discussions held earlier in October in Montreal by the presidents and CEOs of carsharing organizations in Philadelphia (PhillyCarShare), Montreal and Quebec City (Communauto), Ottawa (Vrtucar), Toronto (AutoShare), Kitchener (Grand River CarShare), Chicago (I-GO Car Sharing), San Francisco (City CarShare), and Vancouver (Co-operative Auto Network). These organizations have a combined total of over 75,000 members and 2,000 vehicles.

“The growing carsharing industry is continuously changing. We want to reassure the public that carsharing’s goal is to offer an alternative to car ownership,” said Mr. BenoĆ®t Robert, CEO of Communauto, the oldest carsharing company in North America. “The main aim of the code is to enable the public to distinguish between a concept that is based on public interest, whether privately operated or not, from other commercial enterprises,” he added.

Carsharing provides a network of self-serve vehicles at unattended locations throughout a city’s neighborhoods, for shared use among members. These vehicles are available on an hourly or short term basis, at a lower cost than individual car ownership can provide. The purpose of carsharing is to reduce private ownership of cars, decrease driving, improve the environment, reduce congestion and improve the quality of life in our cities.

“Carsharing is part of the local transportation network. It is having a major and increasingly positive impact on the environment and our communities,” said Rick Hutchinson, CEO of City CarShare in San Francisco. “It is incumbent upon our industry to develop a Code of Ethics to provide a standard in which the public good is served by socially responsible providers.”

“Carsharing programs have already had remarkable results in reducing car ownership. As concerns about climate change become more pressing, we expect the industry to continue to grow and we want to ensure that the industry continues to focus on reducing carbon emissions. It is critical that we have standards so that providers accurately calculate and share the environmental results from their programs and continue to contribute to achieving the substantial environmental benefits possible from carsharing,” said Sharon Feigon, CEO of Chicago’s I-GO Car Sharing.

The code’s main objectives are to establish professional business standards that will protect and enhance the concept, the image and the credibility of carsharing, to ensure social and environmental commitment, customer protection and transparency.

A first version of the Code of Ethics has been drafted by all the aforementioned organizations and is circulating for comment and new signatures. All North American carsharing organizations were invited to join this effort and the vast majority – including several independent organizations that were not able to attend the Montreal conference - expressed a desire to participate.

For more information

Chicago (I-GO Car Sharing) – Deborah Ackles – 773.278.4446, igocars.org
Kitchener (Grand River CarShare) – Jason Hammond – 519.578.1895 – grandrivercarshare.ca
Ottawa (Vrtucar) – Wilson Wood – 613.798.1900– vrtucar.com
Philadelphia (PhillyCarShare) – Clayton Lane – 215.730.0988 – phillycarshare.org
Quebec Province (Communauto) – Marco Viviani – 514.499.8099 – communauto.ca
Toronto (AutoShare) – Kevin McLaughlin – 416.816.3037 – autoshare.com
San Francisco (City CarShare) – Anita Daley - 415.995.8588 – CityCarShare.org
Vancouver (Co-operative Auto Network) – Tracey Axelsson – 604.685.1393 – cooperativeauto.net