Sustainability today is more than a buzzword. It’s become a strategy that companies are embracing to grow their top and bottom lines.
As Interface founder and chief executive officer Ray Anderson said in a recent TEDtalk, “Sustainability is a better way to bigger profits. Done right, it doesn’t cost. It pays.”
Sustainability efforts have become critical to company growth and future success across all industries, including trucking. As these initiatives become more prominent, trucking companies must ensure that their operating models comply with government regulations and align with the expectations of multiple stakeholders.
According to a recent Convoy survey, reducing carbon emissions remains a critical concern. In 2022, 38% of dispatchers, drivers and owner-operators feel pressure to reduce carbon emissions in their businesses — a 3% increase from 2021. Research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that transportation produces 29% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the highest of any sector.
More companies are embracing green logistics, including delivery, packaging, production sourcing and reverse logistics. In trucking, it focuses on strategies for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from goods transported from the first through the last mile of delivery.
Fleet-management systems can help improve sustainability efforts and ensure that fleets and drivers remain compliant with “green” mandates. The trucking industry’s digital transformation trends, including 5G, adoption of route-optimization tools and increased use of automation, are all essential tools to help mitigate climate change.
One of the most impactful ways for trucking companies to achieve sustainability is by using less fuel. And the best way to reduce fuel consumption is to drive fewer miles in less time. Truck route optimization software feeds data into algorithms to trim fuel usage and efficiently provide insights into using equipment. The tool also improves customer interactions, communicating updates on deliveries or pickups, promotes transparency and helps build better customer relationships.
Companies can achieve a paperless — or, at least, less paper-dependent — environment by digitizing operations with mobile apps, cloud-based fleet-management platforms and document imaging. And, as 5G gradually rolls out across the country, it will better support connected devices. A recent study showed that 5G can deliver 100 times higher bandwidth than its predecessor. Organizations can reduce their carbon footprint with greater connectivity of machine-to-machine communication — critical for supporting smart and systems and artificial intelligence.
5G has the power to help companies worldwide achieve a more sustainable future. It offers the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 20% through connected vehicle technology. Coupled with improved geolocation technology, it offers better visibility into unforeseen circumstances like accidents or poor weather. Combining 5G with AI and the internet of things allows fleets to optimize routes in real time, and reduce or eliminate inefficiencies and unnecessary trips.
Trucking companies can use fleet management software to plan and improve routes, maximize vehicle use and reduce vehicle idling time. The technology allows them to:
As sustainability initiatives become more prominent, companies are using them to attract the highest-quality employees. They’re also reconsidering how they address challenges associated with climate change. One global study conducted by the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Global Network for Advanced Management, found that:
To grow businesses, companies must clearly define and implement processes that support a commitment to sustainability. It’s not a buzzword whose time will come and go. It’s here to stay.
Avi Geller is founder and CEO of Maven.
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