Refine and Add New Elements to Enhance and Expand Program
There are many ways to refine and expand a green freight program:
- Recruit Smaller Carriers. Typically small, independent freight carriers far outnumber large companies, however their limited time and financial resources prevent full participation. Create special incentives and allowances to help small carriers overcome those barriers.
- Incorporate Shipper Operational Strategies. Shippers have a variety of strategies available to them that could generate substantial benefits such as:
- Network Optimization commonly involves relocating distribution centers or making other network configuration changes.
- Route Optimization uses software with real-time location data (i.e., GPS) to optimize fuel consumption (vs. other possibilities, such as time minimization).
- Load Optimization uses software to ensure that trailers, pallets, and containers are holding the maximum amount of goods while complying with specific company or government requirements regarding product placement in the container and overall weight.
- Use of Intermodal Options. Modes of transportation with better performance metrics may be explored and adopted by shippers (e.g. rail or barge).
- Packaging Reduction. Changes in product packaging by using different and/or reusable materials, organizing products to decrease empty space in shipping containers, or eliminating unnecessary materials to reduce weight, thus allowing more freight to be carried in the same load.
- Idle Reduction involves various “no idle” policies at locations controlled by the shipper.
- Develop Additional Web-Based Program Tools. A web-based application or web portal allows members to log in, enter their reporting data, have their data validated, and have their emissions estimated automatically. Online tools create better and more secure reporting options than relying solely on the exchange of Excel-like reporting tools.
Online web portals can also be designed to provide access to other electronic tools such as calculators to estimate the costs, financing, and payback period associated with the investments involved with efficiency improvement as well as access to industry performance data.
Building web-based reporting forms often requires special programming skills (e.g., mastery of Java) and will likely require additional security measures for exchanging business-sensitive information.
- Create Tools For Other Freight Modes and Sources. Alternative freight modes can have significant impacts on freight-related emissions and fuel consumption. Expanding a green freight program to include these additional freight modes will require new or altered tools, operating characteristics, and fuel use and emissions rates, among other considerations. Consult other green freight programs such as SmartWay, Green Freight Europe, and the Clean Cargo Working Group to help you integrate these freight modes.
- Expand to Include Other Pollutants. If your initial program did not contain limiting NOx and PM as part of its goals, consider expanding your program’s scope to track and limit these, as well as GHG and climate changing emissions, such as black carbon, methane, and N2O. Estimating the emissions levels for these pollutants should be relatively straightforward based on the fuel consumption and PM emissions estimates that your program already tracks.
- Move Toward a Standardized, Integrated Global Freight Supply Chain Carbon Accounting System. Shipper members as well as many other stakeholders will benefit from a continual movement toward performance measurement and data-sharing tools that are consistent with those already used by more mature programs, including SmartWay, Green Freight Europe, Green Freight Asia, and BSR Clean Cargo Working Group. Establishing harmonized tools, methods, and data-sharing arrangements with these programs and others in your region will greatly benefit your shipper members and foster long-term commitment to your program.
- Develop an “Affiliates” Component. Many organizations and stakeholders will share your program goals but cannot participate as members, such as nonprofit trade and professional associations, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and governmental agencies. However, they can help their stakeholders adopt best practices, improve performance, and address environmental or public health issues. Affiliates can also be powerful allies by educating their constituents about stakeholders about green freight issues and your program specifically. Create tools and a logo for affiliates to help them understand and promote their status, then work with them to leverage their communications channels to showcase your program and share key news and information about green freight.