Getting its members to buy in

by Derek Clouthier

CALGARY, Alta. – It’s a common theme when talking about fuel reduction, and one that is echoed by trucking companies, associations and industry-related organizations alike.
Reducing one’s fuel consumption not only has a positive impact on the environment, it also has a positive effect on a business’ bottom line.

The Canadian Fuels Association (CFA) represents the country’s transportation fuels industry, with member companies that process crude oil into fuel to help get products to market.

CFA members include Chevron Canada Limited, Federated Co-operatives Limited, Husky Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Limited, Irving Oil, North Atlantic Refining Limited, North West Redwater Partnership, Parkland Fuel Corporation, Shell Canada Products and Suncor Energy Products Partnership.

Contributing over $5 billion to Canada’s GDP each year, the Canadian fuels sector employs over 100,000 people at 15 refineries, 70 fuel distribution terminals and 12,000 retail and commercial sites.

So, getting involved and aligning itself with the SmartWay Partnership program was a natural fit.

Rob Hoffman, director of government and stakeholder relations for the western division of the CFA, said his association is dedicated to helping Canadians get more mileage out of their gas tanks and its members are committed to developing fuels with a smaller environmental footprint.

“Better mileage minimizes the environmental impacts of transportation and, at the same time, reduces fuel costs for individuals and businesses,” said Hoffman.

The CFA became an affiliate with the SmartWay Partnership in December 2014, because Hoffman said they recognized that the program’s ‘socially responsible goals aligned with theirs.’

“SmartWay is recognized by government and the trucking industry as a leading forum to improve fuel efficiency, increase environmental performance and encourage supply chain sustainability,” said Hoffman.

The SmartWay Partnership’s goal is to reduce fuel costs, improve efficiency and encourage best practices in freight supply chains. Natural Resources Canada administers the program in Canada and has encouraged more than 3,000 North American companies to take part.

The program was launched by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2004, and taken up by Natural Resources Canada in 2012, and because of that, Hoffman said there is ‘a huge volume of existing and emerging information under the program’s umbrella’ that those taking part in the SmartWay Partnership should leverage.

“SmartWay is a great tool for members to tap into for learning and sharing about fuel efficiency and reducing emissions,” he said.

The CFA, much like a provincial or national trucking association, does not operate any businesses or truck fleets, but rather advocates on its members’ behalf to its several stakeholders, including government regulators and the general public.

Hoffman said the CFA is featuring the SmartWay Partnership’s logo on its website in an effort to underscore its connection with the program in an outreach effort with stakeholders.

“In doing so,” he said, “we are able to demonstrate tangible action and support by our industry for improving fuel efficiency and environmental performance.”

The CFA has benefitted from its association with the SmartWay program in several ways, including in 2016 having its member companies individually join the partnership, which Hoffman said enables each to better demonstrate leadership to each of their own individual stakeholders.

“By joining as SmartWay partners,” Hoffman said, “our member companies are better able to encourage the contracted hired carriers that haul their fuel products to join the SmartWay Partnership program, and further spread the positive message and benefits that SmartWay offers to the trucking industry.”

Though Hoffman indicated that there was nothing in particular he would like to see changed about the SmartWay program, he did say getting CFA members involved was not always an easy task.

One of the initial challenges for the CFA with SmartWay was convincing its members that the administrative investment needed to join the program would be a manageable one.

But Natural Resources Canada made that effort possible.

“We were very happy with the direct hands-on assistance we received from NRCan staff,” said Hoffman, “who are dedicated to supporting SmartWay partners, assisting with the administrative efforts and ensuring a successful enrollment and partnership.”

With its members producing approximately 95% of the transportation fuel supply in Canada, it’s clear why being part of the SmartWay program is beneficial to CFA members and the trucking industry as a whole.

“SmartWay’s objectives to help truck fleets optimize their fuel economy while transporting goods in the most efficient way possible are aligned with our industry’s own goals to minimize our environmental footprint and improve profitability,” said Hoffman.

“One of our prime goals is to help our members meet the environmental policy objectives of government and expectations of Canadians without compromising their access to a secure, reliable and competitively priced fuel supply.”

For truck carriers, the SmartWay program is intended to help reduce operating costs by improving fuel efficiency, attract business from shippers involved in the program, differentiate their operations from competitors and reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses they produce.

Freight shippers, logistics companies, multimodal carriers and barge carriers can also join the program. Non-profit, truck/trailer dealerships, leasing companies and truck stops and travel plazas can also become SmartWay affiliates.

In addition to the CFA, the Ontario Trucking Association, B.C. Trucking Association, Saskatchewan Trucking Association, Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association and Canadian Trucking Alliance are all affiliates of the SmartWay Partnership program.

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