We believe that what we’ve built is something worth preserving – from our strong culture of customer service and employee opportunity, to the network of partnerships that binds us to thousands of neighborhoods and communities.
As a family-owned business, we are uncommonly in tune with the need to operate with the next generation in mind. This deep sense of stewardship plays out day-to-day in our commitment to managing our company sustainably – continuously working to balance the interests of our customers, our employees and the parts of the world we touch with our business. With that in mind, our Driving Futures website and Corporate Sustainability Report hold us accountable and articulate how strategic principles such as Legacy, Innovation and Foresight have come to define our success for the long term.
We begin by evaluating the performance of our operating groups based in large part on how their operations maintain what we call, quite simply, “The Balance." It’s about delivering the right combination of customer satisfaction, employee development, fleet growth and profitability. We know from more than 50 years of experience that keeping a healthy equilibrium among these critical factors is essential to steady, long-term growth and the sustainability of the car rental industry overall.
Our future success may be rooted in how skillfully we continue to operate our business, but it also depends on how consistently we live our values. That's why we work so hard to ensure our business operations – from neighborhood and airport car rental, to car sharing and vanpooling, to car sales and truck rental – are closely aligned with our company's founding values and collective responsibilities.
To help us do that, we also manage our operations according to a “Cultural Compass” that guides how we interact with our customers, communities and one another. For example, we have joined forces with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the largest independent plant research center in the world, to establish the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels. The Institute's aim is to create the next generation of alternative fuel technologies from environmentally sound plant and algal sources, thus reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on non-renewable resources. We’ve also established an endowment for sustainable energy research at the University of Missouri, which is already yielding promising results in the field of biofuels.
In addition, Enterprise is working with the Arbor Day Foundation and the United States Forest Service to plant 1 million trees throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom as part of the Enterprise 50 Million Tree Pledge. Supported by a $50-million commitment from Enterprise, the private/public/nonprofit partnership already has resulted in nearly 9 million trees being planted in areas suffering damage from wildfires and other natural disasters (an interactive map of the plantings is available online).
Enterprise also partners with other important stakeholders, including the Electrification Coalition, the Corporate Eco Forum, the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities initiative, and the National League of Cities' Sustainable Cities Institute.
Transportation Value Chain
Such stakeholders can help broaden discussions about the transportation value chain. For instance, in 2011, the National Summit on Energy Security brought together CEOs, military leaders and policymakers to address the intensifying threats posed by our nation’s dependence on petroleum. In addition, in 2012, the Danforth Plant Science Center hosted a panel discussion featuring General Motors and Enterprise Holdings, which focused on the future of the passenger vehicle, including new technology, biofuel research, local mobility, supply chain responsibilities and other public policy issues.
In 2013, the Wharton Initiative for Environmental Global Leadership (IGEL) published a special report titled “Next Stop, Innovation: What’s Ahead for Urban Mobility?” Enterprise Holdings sponsored this IGEL report because we not only operate the largest fleet in the world, but also more than 6,000 neighborhood and airport rental locations located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.
Most recently in 2014, Enterprise Holdings participated in a SXSW Eco panel discussion on the role that public and private transportation providers play in meeting demands for sustainable mobility in urban markets. This conversation brought to light that what cities and drivers need are access to more local, sustainable transportation options.
In fact, Enterprise has been delivering transportation alternatives right where people live and work since 1957. Forty years later, Enterprise Rent-A-Car trademarked the term Virtual Car®, after recognizing the strength and energy of local service, regardless if it is for an hour, a day, a week or longer. This intuitive neighborhood business model – an early example of today’s “collaborative consumption” trend – now features a wide variety of programs, including car rental, car leasing, vanpooling and car sharing, in towns and cities of all sizes. It also includes online ride-matching, which facilitates sustainable transportation-management solutions for university and corporate networks.
As a result of this unique grassroots network, Enterprise is able to quickly and efficiently introduce millions of drivers to new fuel and vehicle technology. In addition, the Enterprise network makes it possible to provide affordable and accessible transportation options to consumers who rely on mass transit during the week in large urban markets, and to those who simply cannot afford to purchase or maintain a vehicle on their own. That means we can leverage our network and fleet to work effectively with other key stakeholders to incorporate sustainability goals into comprehensive, long-term local transportation planning, and, in the process, better meet the needs of constituents, clients and customers in the communities we serve.