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Home > Feature Articles > Logistics and Vehicle Fleet Management > Trucking & Logistics for Efficiency, Fuel Savings, and Air Quality

Green Your Business Transportation Carbon Footprint

Who's the bad boy in American society today? Trucking!

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Supply Chain My dad taught me that when you point the finger at someone, three fingers point back at you. I think about that every time a "bad guy" is persecuted because their misdeeds just seems so "obvious." Trucking is one of those easy targets. Diesel has been very dirty. Food is trucked 2,000 miles to take advantage of pricing and tax breaks. Truck drivers are an independent lot -- I almost said "independent cusses"...but thought better of it. :-)

But my trucking adviser got in a huff one day and challenged me to look around my living room and see if there was ONE THING that had not been distributed and delivered by a truck. I was stumped. I was to blame with my choices as much as he was to blame for all the emissions he created as he chugged across the desert and mountains and plains of America.

Maybe companies could start to think in terms of their "Wheelprints" and "Skidmarks" to identify and communicate their "carbon footprint". not just trucking companies...but ALL companies. How far do they go to buy the best raw materials? How many companies do they spread their business out amongst to keep 'em guessing and make them compete a little harder? How many distributors do they use? How many retailers order bits and bites instead of stocking enough to serve their customer for a reasonable length of time?

We're all part of the trucking industry. Every last one of us. Our choices and our policies and procedures matter. They all create skidmarks on the earth. And smog in the air. Those three fingers just got stuck in my mouth!

So...if you're serious about your carbon footprint and your skidmarks, where do you start? Start by learning what matters most. Then take some action.

Here's a start:

74% of British Population say that more information on a company's social and ethical behaviour would influence their purchasing decisions. Carbon Footprint

Can we say the same for the American Population? Let's start with ourselves. Will you get just a little choosier about your choices? Maybe pay a bit more here and there to save health costs and our children's future down the road a piece?

It's really a matter of "pay now or pay later"...it's not about just paying more. Everything short-sighted decision comes back to haunt us.

And when you've got your business house in order, how about taking your new knowledge home with you? Here's a carbon calculator for your personal peace of mind... www.safeclimate.net/calculator/

Calculate and assess your direct GHG emissions

The devil's in the details, so let's think about the details that matter most. No one wants to spend their life counting nits and gnats...but a few facts can help you make smarter choices -- for your own well being and for your family and friends.

  • Fuel / energy usage -- how fast? what's the gas mileage?
  • Passenger Transportation -- how many miles could you shave off?
  • Freight Mileage -- could local suppliers do the job?
  • Process Emissions of GHGs -- where are the GHGs hiding?

Here's one community's report on their conscientious finger pointing exercise: Denver’s greenhouse gas emissions come primarily from transportation, residential-commercial-industrial energy use, and the use of key urban materials. Their inventory reveals that local greenhouse gas emissions have increased in almost direct proportion to the significant population growth Denver has experienced over the past decade, with both population and annual greenhouse gas emissions increasing 24 percent between 1990 and 2005. Denver’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions have remained nearly constant at about 25 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per person per year from 1990 to 2005, with total annual greenhouse gas emissions increasing from 11.8 million carbon dioxide equivalents in 1990 to 14.6 million in 2005.

And let us not forget about all those other forms of freight movement and people movers. Air, ships, trains, even buses and paddy wagons!

Airline travel is a large source of CO2 emissions. Air travel calculations are beyond the scope of this calculator, but an easy-to-use carbon footprint calculator for airline travel can be found at Terrapass.com. It shows several per-person carbon footprints for various round trip flights from Boston...just to put the wild blue yonder into perspective.

Well, those fingers are getting uncomfortable, so that's enough finger pointing for today. Together we can learn to save a little waste here and there, be a bit smarter about our choices, and innovate a little more conscientiously.

Don't make any skidmarks I wouldn't make!



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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