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 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 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 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 your pilots, push for a systematic approach tracking emissions performance. The results of your pilot efforts will make a compelling story to share in the company’s CSR report and at industry events. For more information on how to accelerate your 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 you make progress toward your environmental performance improvement goal, what lessons learned that you can share with other companies? What learnings from others are you able to incorporate into your efforts? As you close in on your current goal, start thinking about what new goals the company should set.
Greening your freight logistics is not an overnight project. Truly transforming your operation 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 changes you make will make a difference and influence others to do the same.