Thursday, June 6, 2024

The DVLA and Thales Cut Carbon Footprint of UK Driving Licence and Residence Cards


  • Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) and Thales cut carbon footprint of UK driving licence as well as tachograph and residence cards, by over one third in 5 years.

  • Thales is using eco-design principles, energy efficiency, recycling, and ultimately carbon offsetting to minimize carbon emissions as part of its worldwide low-carbon strategy. DVLA remains on track to meet UK government target of net zero emissions by 2050.


(BUSINESS WIRE) -- The United Kingdom government’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) partners with Thales to reduce the carbon footprint of its driving licences as well as tachograph and residence cards. Since 2018, Thales has cut by over one third the CO2 emissions associated with the 12 million cards it supplies to the DVLA every year, without compromising the outstanding security, durability and value-for-money provided by these products.

The DVLA is responsible for maintaining accurate records of more than 52 million drivers in Great Britain and more than 46 million vehicles across the UK. It is also recognised as a centre of excellence for sourcing and issuing secure national documents. Since 2012, Thales has supplied the DVLA with polycarbonate driving licences, a range of tachograph cards (for operations such as recording and storing the activity of commercial drivers), and residence cards for EU citizens to prove their right to live and work in the UK.

Key initiatives undertaken by Thales include adoption of eco-design principles throughout its identity card portfolio. For example, the size of the contactless microcontrollers embedded in the UK’s tachograph and residence cards has been halved, resulting in an equivalent reduction in CO2 microcontroller emissions while maintaining applications and security features unchanged.

In addition, Thales’ factories manufacturing the cards are accredited to the ISO 50001 standard, which focuses on energy efficiency. All these factories use 100% renewably electricity, accounting for over 70% of their total energy consumption. These improvements resulted in a reduction of over 80% of manufacturing related emissions (scope 1 and 2) since 2018.

For the remaining emissions of DVLA cards and on a yearly basis, Thales invests in high quality carbon offsetting programs with independently recognized carbon compensation organization such as Climate Impact Partners. For the DVLA contract, these include planting forests in the UK, restoring mangroves in Kenya, and distributing clean energy stoves in Bangladesh. In total, Thales has now offset 3,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions on behalf of the DVLA.

“Just like the DVLA, Thales is on the road to net zero and uses industry standard tools to calculate the Life Cycle Assessments of its products. This comprehensive calculator1 assesses the environmental impact of materials, packaging, transportation, document production and distribution, as well as end of life. Together with DVLA we are continually exploring new opportunities to improve the sustainability of the millions of cards supplied by Thales, looking for more responsible materials and solutions. At the same time, we remain focused on the need to maintain the security and integrity of identity credentials and deliver exceptional value for money for governments and public bodies” said Nathalie Gosset, Vice President Identity Document Solutions at Thales

1 This approach was developed with Quantis, a leading environmental sustainability consultancy, and is now supported by Solinnen, an expert consultancy specialising in Life Cycle Assessment, following recognised standards which consider the full life cycle of the products assessed and covers associated scope 1, 2 and 3.

About Thales

Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies specialized in three business domains: Defence & Security, Aeronautics & Space, and Cybersecurity & Digital identity.

It develops products and solutions that help make the world safer, greener and more inclusive.

The Group invests close to €4 billion a year in Research & Development, particularly in key innovation areas such as AI, cybersecurity, quantum technologies, cloud technologies and 6G.

Thales has close to 81,000 employees in 68 countries. In 2023, the Group generated sales of €18.4 billion.


Thales Group
Digital Identity & Security




Thales, Media Relations
Digital Identity and Security
Vanessa Viala
+33 (0)6 07 34 00 34