Here in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation will unveil new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for big trucks soon, according to the New York Times. At first glance, many companies might conclude that these new polices do not impact them. They’d be mistaken. In fact, they would be overlooking an enormous opportunity to cut costs while delivering real-world progress on sustainability.
The fact is that nearly every company in the United States is reliant on heavy trucks, which move 70% of U.S. freight. Brands and manufacturers use trucks to bring in supplies and ship out final products. Retailers and grocers count on trucks to keep the shelves stocked. Technology companies need trucks to deliver the hardware that powers their online services. Even Major League Baseball has turned its dependence on trucking into a quasi-holiday.
More efficient trucks matter to all business because they will cut supply chain costs. Last year, American businesses spent $657 billion dollars on trucking services. A lot of that money went to pay for fuel – the top cost for trucking, accounting for nearly 40% of all costs. Read more
There are many ways to reduce freight-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But which strategies make the most sense for you?
EDF’s Green Freight Handbook provides a framework to help you answer this question based on what initiatives will achieve the greatest environmental benefit in the least amount of time. The key is our Green Freight Diagnostic Tool.
Here’s how it works. We focus on EDF’s five key principles for greener freight:
- Get the most out of every move
- Choose the most carbon-efficient mode
- Redesign your logistics network
- Demand cleaner equipment and practices
For each key area of potential, we list a series of simple questions designed to help you determine which strategies are the low-effort, high-return opportunities. You’ll need some data in order to answer the questions, but it’s a pretty easy exercise to start moving down the path toward a cleaner, lower-cost freight program.
Here’s a small sample from just one of the green freight diagnostic sections, "Get the most out of every move." As you can see, it explains the opportunity and allows you to measure the potential impact at a high level.
|Can your customers be flexible about arrival dates to enable freight consolidation?||With a transportation management system or TMS, companies can identify opportunities to hold orders for consolidation. Where feasible, and with the right incentives, companies can then send one larger shipment to customers instead of sending two smaller ones.||Reduction of product shipping volume by up to 30 percent.|
|Have you recently analyzed opportunities for balancing high density and low density products?||If no, explore how you might be able to better balance weight and cube constraints. Options include matching internal freight or co-loading with a company with a similar need and transportation lanes.||20-30 percent net reduction in process and resource costs.|
|Can you side load your pallets 90 degrees when loading them on the truck?||Explore the feasibility of side loading pallets to enable the loading of more cargo per truck. This will be feasible only for fleets that cube out, but do not weigh-out. This approach will require changes to pallet construction and loading.||8-15 percent increase in truck productivity.|
That’s just a small sampling. Each of the five sections provides a comprehensive diagnostic assessment tool. Download the Green Freight Handbook to access the tool.
Every product that ends up on a retail shelf or is sold online has a freight footprint. The annual impact of freight across U.S. retail and consumer goods supply chains is significant – over 160 million metrics tons of greenhouse emissions. Or, more than ten times Walmart’s 2010 scope 1 & 2 emissions in the United States.
There are ample opportunities for retailers and their suppliers to improve efficiency, reduce costs and emissions from their freight supply chain. These companies can get more products on each truckload, move more cargo by rail, and collaborate with other companies to find shipping efficiencies.
To capture the most savings opportunities, companies need a long-term plan of action with common key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals shared between logistics teams and corporate sustainability officers.
EDF created our Green Freight Journey model to be a framework that companies can use to manage supply chain freight emissions. The Green Freight Journey has five steps:
- Step One: Get Started, where a company assembles the right group of internal stakeholders and defines its objectives and key metrics.
- Step Two: Create Momentum, where a company launches a pilot effort to improve performance in one key area. It leverages the results of the pilot to increase internal visibility about the strong value of green freight initiatives.
- Step Three: Accelerate Performance, where a company expands the scope of its green freight efforts from one or two projects to a system-wide effort to reduce costs and emissions.
- Step Four: Declare a Goal, where a company sets a multi-year goal to drive internal focus and resource allocation.
- Step Five: Raise the Bar, having accomplished its first generation green freight goal, a company assess and sets a new longer term improvement target.
If you are attending RILA Sustainability later this month, visit the EDF booth (NP6) in the exhibit hall to learn more how your company can leverage the Green Freight Journey framework to identify and implement cost and emission reductions project. In addition to the EDF Green Freight Handbook, we will available at our booth have a benchmarking survey for companies to help them assess their next step on the Green Freight Journey.
EDF has been a long-time supporter of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) SmartWay Program and we are proud to announce that tomorrow EPA will honor EDF with an Affiliate Challenge Award. This award not only recognizes our commitment to the program, but also our significant efforts to promote, advance, and strengthen SmartWay. The voluntary program is a public-private initiative that promotes freight sustainability through efficiency and fuel reductions. The program first began with a focus on reducing fuel consumption from long-haul trucks, and in 2011 was expanded to increase sustainability from the trucking sector operating around marine ports.
Over the course of its 10-year history, SmartWay Partners have saved 120.7 million barrels of oil. This is equivalent to taking over 10 million cars off the road for an entire year and has helped to protect the health and well-being of locals residing close to transportation hubs. Additionally, the SmartWay Program has reduced 51.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide so far, which contributes to our nation’s economic and energy security. EDF is excited about these achievements and proud to support these clean air efforts.