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.

The vast majority of these voluntary corporate efforts are driven by a desire to lessen the contribution to global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions are the contribution. Thus, the amount of emissions is the best way to track progress.

Ultimately fleets that don’t track emissions will never know the actual impact of their efforts. Other metrics can be useful in tracking the adoption of some strategies, but will fail to provide the overall picture of impact. For example, tracking the adoption of advanced powertrain or simply using alternative-fueled vehicles fails to capture vital data such as the overall miles traveled, the achieved fuel efficiency or the fuel emissions profile. All of these metrics are important in determining the ultimate operational impact of the vehicles. Tracking gallons of fuel used can be a good proxy for emissions, so long that the fuel make-up is consistent. However, to be rolled into aggregate corporate footprinting data needed for popular surveys, greenhouse gases emissions will need to be calculated regardless. [EDF’s Fleet Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator helps fleet managers measure fleet greenhouse gas emissions using fuel consumption data they already have.]

By framing programs along the lines of greenhouse gas emissions, companies maintain an outcome oriented vision that will enable them to focus first and foremost on the lowest-hanging fruits. Examples include moving to more efficient vehicles, reducing vehicle idling times, creating more efficient routing and improving driver habitats. Harvesting the environmental and cost savings from these efforts first will build understanding and support for ongoing emissions reduction activities. This will in turn be important to maintain the momentum needed for a long-term effort to dramatically reduce fleet emissions.

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