Freight transportation regularly accounts for 15% of the cost of goods sold and 16% of U.S.-based corporate emissions. When moving goods, costs and carbon are highly correlated metrics: improve one and you will improve the other.
Step One: Get Started
Gather the right group of internal stakeholders and define your company’s objectives. Then, determine a few key metrics – such as greenhouse gas emissions per ton-mile – to track progress.
Step Two: Create Momentum
Launch a pilot effort to improve performance in one key area. See EDF’s Green Freight Handbook and Green Freight case studies for examples of successful Green Freight projects. Track the results of your company’s pilot efforts and communicate the benefits to increase internal visibility about the strong value of Green Freight initiatives.
Step Three: Accelerate Performance
Build off the success of your company’s pilot efforts to identify new improvement projects. Instead of one or two, can you now undertake five or ten? With the buy-in gained through the strong results of its pilots, push for a systematic approach tracking emissions performance. The results of your company’s pilot efforts will make a compelling story to share in its CSR report and at industry events. For more information on how to accelerate your company’s performance, consult the Green Freight Handbook.
Step Four: Declare a Goal
Ensure continued progress and long-term success by setting a multi-year, aggressive environmental improvement goal—such as a 20% decrease in emissions per-ton mile over the next five years. Set the goal beyond currently identified improvements opportunities. An aggressive goal spurs innovation and creativity, sparking additional improvement opportunities.
Step Five: Raise the Bar
Continue to celebrate successes internally and leverage the Virtuous Cycle of Strategic Energy Management. As your company makes progress toward your environmental performance improvement goal, what lessons learned can you share with other companies? What learnings from others can your company incorporate into your efforts? As your team closes in on its current goal, start thinking about what new goals the company should set.
Greening your freight logistics is not an overnight project. Truly transforming your company’s operations requires careful planning, goal-setting, and good metrics. Take it one step at a time, using EDF’s 5 Principles of Greener Freight as a starting point. As emissions from global goods movement continue to increase, the steps your company takes will make a difference and influence others to do the same.