Can fleets “Go Green” without tracking GHG emissions?

In the recent EDF fleet emissions benchmarking survey, 70% of respondents noted they have programs in place to reduce environmental impact. Yet, only 44% acknowledged that they measure greenhouse gas emissions. This begs the question, how are companies that aren’t measuring their emissions tracking the progress of their efforts?

We, of course, applaud the efforts of all companies that are actively seeking to reduce the environmental impact of their fleets, and we want them all to succeed. Good management, however, requires an objective way to measure progress. Greenhouse gas emissions provide the best metric of environmental impact. Read more

Greenhouse Gas Savings from Fuel Efficiency

In an earlier post, I introduced this graphic (from a McKinsey report that shows the estimated cost for CO2 abatement using various technologies).*  In another post, I looked at emissions reductions in the commercial building sector.  Now we look at another big opportunity for “low hanging” emissions reductions – fuel efficiency. Read more

Giving a Green Light to Greenhouse Gas Savings

The hullabaloo in Washington is great fun to watch, but the fact is that many, many companies will not be directly regulated under any new climate bill that gets passed.  So why should companies care?  Well, from 30,000 feet, here’s one reason:

McKinsey Graphic 1

It’s from a McKinsey report that shows the estimated cost for CO2 abatement using various technologies.  The vertical axis shows cost per ton of emission reductions.  And all the blocks hanging below the horizon represent things we can do now that have “negative cost” – in other words, we save more money than we spend.  Notice that virtually every one of them involves energy and fuel efficiency.  We can get four or five gigatons of emissions savings – that’s four or five billion tons of emissions reductions – while saving money!  So the opportunity is huge. Read more

Fleet Emissions Benchmarking: How Does Your Company Stack Up?

Benchmarking performance with peers is important for all areas of business, and fleet emissions are no exception. To help corporate fleets with this important task, EDF recently surveyed the largest 300 fleets in the U.S. and members of the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA). The results of the survey were released today and are available at on the EDF website [PDF].

Our overall project objective was to better understand the range of fleet performances along two key indicators: kilograms of greenhouse gases emitted per mile traveled (kg GHG/mile) and the fleet average per vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases (in metric tons- mt GHG vehicle/year). These two metrics, along with the total fleet emissions of greenhouse gases, are an effective way to track fleet environmental performance.

Certainly, the total amount of greenhouse gas emitted is the most important data point. Fleets that seek to lessen their environmental impact need to be reducing their emissions on an absolute basis. The other two indexed metrics tell fleets how well they are improving their efficiency, given changes in fleet size and operations. Kilogram GHG/mile tracks both the efficiency of the vehicles in the fleet, and other factors such as excessive idling. Metric tons GHGs/ vehicle tracks the efficiency and use patterns, such as miles traveled.

Of the eighteen fleets that provided us with the data needed to analyze their emissions along these two metrics, we did see a range of performance. Average emissions varied from over 6 metric tons GHG/ vehicle to over 18 metric tons GHG/ vehicle. Emissions ranged from just under .3 kg GHG/ mile  to over 1 kg GHG/ mile. The function of the fleet explained most of these differences. However, we did notice a difference in performance between those who currently measure their emissions (.47 kg GHG/ mile) and those who do not (.75 kg GHG/mile). We asked participants to provide fuel consumption data in order for us to calculate emissions using the EDF-NAFA fleet emissions calculator.

The small and diverse sample of respondents cautioned us against drawing any conclusions from this survey. Still, it was a worthwhile exercise to help some fleets see how they rank on emissions compared to their peers.

To add your organization’s fleets to this effort, we’ve set-up an online form where companies can provide the necessary data. In exchange for this information (which will be kept confidential), we will send you an updated report noting how you compare to peer fleets. We look forward to your contributions.

This content is cross-posted on

Four Events for Companies Interested in Reducing Fleet GHG Emissions

With the height of summer now firmly in the rear-view mirror, the workshop/conference season is getting into high gear. There are several great upcoming opportunities to learn about the latest in reducing fleet emissions.

Among the events that EDF will be participating over the next six weeks are:

AltWheels Fleet Day

When: Monday October 5th

Where: Framingham, MA

The event bills itself as  “an event for leaders in fleet management: If you are a fleet manager or commercial vehicle operator looking for new technologies and practical tips for coping with rising fuel costs, come to Fleet Day to learn how to achieve greater efficiency while making the business case for clean technologies that fuel costs and emissions.” EDF staff will be panelists on three of the afternoon breakout sessions.

For more information:

Fleet Challenge Ontario: Green Fleet Management Breakfast Forum

When: Tuesday October 6th

Where: Toronto, ON

I will be joining Keith Kerman, from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and Recipient of National Association of Fleet Administrators 2008 "Greenest Fleet" Award, and Roger Smith, Director of Fleet Challenge Ontario, to discuss best practices for reducing emissions from fleets.

For more information:

The Green Fleet Conference

When October 19-20

Where: Chicago, IL

This event will convene corporate and government fleet managers from across the nation to discuss successful strategies for reducing emissions and keeping fleet costs in check. EDF staff will participate on the panel covering funding opportunities for greenfleet efforts and lead a discussion about engaging drivers on fuel-smart driving behavior.

For more information:

Hybrid Truck Users’ Forum

When: October 27-29

Where: Atlanta, GA

The leading event focused on the medium-to-heavy duty hybrid truck marketplace. EDF staff will attend and participate in several activities throughout this event.

For more information:

Look for us at these conferences – and let us know if you’ll be there so we can watch for you as well!

You can always see where we’re going to be – and what conferences we’re watching – on the Innovation Exchange Calendar.

Fleets Still Cutting Emissions and Costs

Jason Mathers is a Project Manager for our Corporate Partnerships Program where he works with today's leading companies to identify, develop, and implement innovative environmental practices that make business sense.

Fuel is a major cost for fleets of all types and sizes. Typically, it’s second only to vehicle depreciation in the cost ranking. However, when gas prices head north of $3/gal fuel, it quickly becomes the #1 cost for most fleets.

Fuel use is the determining factor in the environmental footprint of any given fleet, accounting for 90% of a vehicle’s carbon footprint. So it should make sense that a great way for fleets to cut costs and reduce its environmental impact is to use less fuel.

Unfortunately, the misconception is that it is expensive for fleets to reduce their environmental footprint. EDF has been working with fleets Read more

Is the Customer Always Right? Yes, When it Comes to Sustainability.

Greg Andeck leads EDF's Corporate Partnerships "Innovation Pipeline" to identify and develop groundbreaking environmental initiatives with leading U.S. companies.

The world’s leading companies all conduct extensive research to determine what their customers want and how they want it.  Whether they hire firms like Synovate or Millward Brown, or do consumer research in-house, companies know the value of crafting products that fit their customers’ needs and desires.

This is why it’s so perplexing that companies don’t do the same when developing substantive sustainability strategies.  All too often, companies launch campaigns that are later accused of greenwashing or limit their efforts to indirect efficiency improvements, when it’s their core product that really needs the greening.  It turns out that by paying more attention to their customers, companies can unlock solutions for true environmental innovation and get richly rewarded for doing so.

Taking a Page from Environmental LCAs Read more

Delving Deeper to Enhance Data Center Efficiency

By Catherine Sweere, a 2009 Climate Corps fellow and a Net Impact member, is pursuing a Master's of Business Administration degree at Carnegie Mellon University.

Efficiency. Renewable Energy. Energy Savings. It seems so easy: Add recycle bins, upgrade light bulbs, buy more efficient desktop monitors, make all your company cars hybrid. Then slap a big green blurb about sustainability efforts on your homepage and you're done. Is becoming sustainable really so easy?

Meaningful change within a corporate setting is clearly not so cut and dry. With all the green press and government support of green energy initiatives, it's easy not to see what might be going on behind the scenes within a corporation that makes sustainability become a lasting value.

I've spent my summer working at, in the heart of San Francisco, working on energy efficiency projects. Green is a big part of this city's culture, LEED is required of all new offices, reusable water bottles are the norm, Styrofoam has been outlawed and composting is mandatory.

When you dig deeper into a corporation, the task of achieving sustainable operations is highly complex. Read more

Stimulating the Hybrid Truck Market

If you listen carefully, you just might hear the quiet hum of over 250 new hybrid trucks coming down the road. States and regions around the country are slowly but surely announcing the winners of grants from EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction program and the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities programs, which, together, received $600 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Projects are still being announced, but we expect to see at least 270 new medium- and heavy-duty hybrid trucks hit the road in 2009-2010 because of these funds. Maryland’s Clean Cities program is using $6 million to partially fund the purchase of 150 new hybrid trucks, with 50 going to ARAMARK alone. Maryland anticipates that its program will “displace upwards of 460,000 gallons of petroleum per year, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 262,610 lbs. per year and create a total of 205 fulltime jobs for workers in distressed local economies.” Now that’s what we call stimulus!

These major investments demonstrate that when the price is right, there is a strong demand for hybrid trucks. It’s this kind of demand for cleaner technologies and better practices that the Corporate Partnership model is so effective at creating.

Check out the new video that tells our story through the success of the hybrid truck market. It’s time to sit back, relax, and watch the hybrid truck market drive itself.