Not long ago, some would say even as late as last year, sustainable transportation practices or "green transportation" as most would call it, was hardly a topic of discussion in the boardrooms of most...
September 1, 2007
Lou Smyrlis, Editorial Director
Not long ago, some would say even as late as last year, sustainable transportation practices or “green transportation” as most would call it, was hardly a topic of discussion in the boardrooms of most major shippers and carriers.
Things could hardly be more different today after large players such as Wal-Mart, IKEA, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Home Depot and Unilever have made a concentrated effort to green their supply chains. And with up to 75% of a company’s carbon footprint coming from transportation and logistics, this places considerable pressure on motor carriers to keep pace with the trend towards transportation strategies that place considerable emphasis on the environment as well as savings to the bottom line.
In the words of Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart: “Being a good steward of the environment and being profitable are not mutually exclusive. They are one and the same.”
A recent survey conducted by eyefortransport found that almost 6 in 10 North American shippers considered green issues as either important or very important to their companies’ overall strategy. The survey also revealed, not surprisingly, that the more importance given to green issues by a company the more likely it was to partner with “green-minded” or “green-capable” service providers. Shippers are taking on an array of transportation and logistics green initiatives. Improving energy efficiency, vehicle re-routing to reduce miles, and more strategic warehouse and DC placement are the top three and all directly impact transportation service providers.
That’s all well and good but how do motor carriers, particularly the many small and medium-sized operations that dominate the Canadian trucking landscape respond to such demands? For many carriers the greening of transportation and logistics remains a vague and unsettling thought.
It’s with this reality in mind that we produce Green to Gold, our first supplement on sustainable transportation practices. Our goal is to inform fleet managers about the latest technologies becoming available to help them green their operations and reduce costs over the long term – in essence, turning green to gold. This supplement highlights the efforts of the pioneering Canadian fleets that are taking a leadership role in adopting such technologies and other green practices to give the entire industry a look at just what is possible. It is also our goal to discuss the return on the investment because we understand that ROI – both financial and in terms of public relations – can be a major driver for corporate changes in strategy and practice.