Environmental sustainability and business sustainability are complementary, not in opposition, says Andrew Travis, chief operating officer of Onfleet.
“I think when people think about environmental sustainability, they think it's somehow in opposition to their business sustainability,” he says. “To focus on the profitability of their company would mean that they can't focus on the environment, and they feel to focus on the environment would somehow reduce their ability to build a sustainable long-term business.
“I just think that's false,” he continues. “I believe there's an interesting intersection between environmental sustainability and business sustainability.”
That intersection is what he calls “last-mile fleet sustainability.” By focusing on that, he says, “you can achieve positive results for both your business and the environment at the same time.”
Consulting and research firms have validated over and over again that consumers require companies to have an environmentally sustainable approach to business, Travis says. “Folks are making decisions about the products and services they choose based on perceived impact to the environment.”
Yet he feels that many companies implement “green” programs “backwards.” For instance, “The trick is not to start buying new vehicles on day one. Moving from gas to electric overnight is expensive, and it doesn't achieve the result you're looking for because you're adapting a new transportation modality to an old, inefficient business operation.”
He recommends adopting an application technology that supports last-mile delivery route optimization and which gives you a handle on how you're doing business. “You really need to understand the impact you’re having on the environment, first. You need to know how you can improve the efficiency of your operation by reducing fuel, cost and emissions. I think that's where you start, because it’s only then that you can begin looking at other operating models and new vehicle types.”
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