Pharmaceutical maker Roche announced plans on September 28 to drive full speed toward efforts to improve the environment. As part of the company's commitment to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent over the next five years, Roche is integrating Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrid vehicles into its pharmaceutical sales fleet.This initiative is also an ongoing attempt to continually improve business practices. Initially, 20 sales representatives are involved in the pilot program. These vehicles are expected to emit up to 97 percent 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.The Prius is one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the market due to its aerodynamic shape and hybrid powertrain. The 2004 Prius has an EPA-estimated combined city/highway average of 55 miles per gallon and a tank size of about 12 gallons. The Escape hybrid is expected to provide 35-40 miles per gallon in the city on a 16.5-gallon tank.Roche has been active in instituting environmentally friendly programs for years, including using recycled products and recycling appropriate materials. In addition, the company sponsors sustainability and energy awareness days to encourage all employees to be environmentally responsible. Roche Corporate Environmental & Safety Affairs (CESA) has recently joined forces with the EPA Climate Leaders Program. Climate Leaders is a voluntary industry-government partnership that encourages companies to develop long-term comprehensive climate change strategies and set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals.