Getting Paid To Drive Green?

CBS Evening News, Energy Savers
CBS
When it comes to a carbon footprint, some of the biggest feet on the planet belong to American business and industry.

But American business is now doing some surprising things to make a difference, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports.

Peter Magnani is test-driving a gas-electric hybrid because the bank he works for will help him buy it.

"The Bank of America will give me a $3,000 cash rebate if I buy a hybrid car," Peter Magnani, who works there, said.

With 1862 employees, that's … and tons of emissions.

In the past two years the Bank of America has given 1862 employees $5,586,000 to buy fuel-efficient hybrids. That has saved an estimated 1,800 tons of carbon emissions.

"I feel good about working at a company that has the consciousness and that provides those benefits," Magnani said.

For business, going green is a way to attract and retain employees.

"These days, people want to work for a company that they respect, that they think is doing the right thing, that they think is part of the solution," said Joel Makower, editor of Greenbiz.com.

So, Bryan Cole feels good about getting 40 miles to the gallon in his biodiesel car.

What does he burn?

"Waste vegetable oil that's coming out of restaurants," Cole said.

His employer, energy bar-maker Clif Bar, helped him buy it.

"I received a $5,000 forgivable loan," he said.

And it will be totally forgiven if he stays at the company for five years. That perk has put plenty of fuel-efficient vehicles here in the company parking lot. Carpoolers and bike commuters get bonuses too.

"It's just another great way that they'er getting everybody psyched about thinking outside the box on how they wanna commute," said Cliff Bar employee Ryan Mayo.

And that also includes how they can save energy at home. Shawna Sadowski is getting $1,000 to buy insulating window blinds.

"They prevent up to 75 percent of heat loss, as well as prevent heat from coming in," Sadowski said.

Usually we think business is there to make money. But this costs money.

"It does cost money, but we're a successful business," said Cassie Cyphers of Cliff Bar. "We're still making money, so it's working!

It's not just business. The American Jewish Committee gives employees cash to buy fuel-efficient cars. And the county of Los Angeles is telling its 100,000 workers its negotiated discounts for them on hybrids.

A lot of small steps … to shrink that big carbon footprint.

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.