Roche is trialling Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrid vehicles in its pharmaceutical sales fleet. Initially, 20 sales representatives are involved in the pilot programme.

These vehicles are expected to emit up to 97% fewer hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen than vehicles that currently meet today’s nationwide Tier I standards. In addition these vehicles will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a known greenhouse gas.

“We plan to continue to add hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles into the 1,400 car sales force and eventually replace our entire fleet,” a spokesman said.

Roche said it has been active in instituting environmentally friendly programmes for years, including using recycled products and recycling appropriate materials. The company also sponsors sustainability and energy awareness days to encourage all employees to be environmentally responsible.