Greensourcing Strategies

Nov. 1, 2008
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honors 27 winners of the 2008 SmartWay Excellence Awards

Many Steps to SmartWay Awards

There are 27 winners of the 2008 SmartWay Excellence Awards. The organizations recognized took a number of different measures that earned these awards. For example, many of those recognized invested in trucks that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says qualifies for its SmartWay Certified mark as the cleanest, most efficient available today. Some took efforts to optimize delivery routes, while others modified shipping and receiving practices that enabled reduced idling.

SmartWay was created by EPA in early 2004 to address environmental and economic challenges within the freight industry. It describes itself in the simplest form as a brand that identifies products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions. It is a partnership among government, business and consumers to protect the environment, reduce fuel consumption and improve air quality.

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SmartWay claims its partners are saving 595 million gallons of diesel fuel annually that translates into elimination of 6.8 million tons of CO2 emissions. Those participants receiving recognition this year are:

Freight Carriers: American Central Transport, Inc., Celadon Trucking Services Inc., Challenger Motor Freight Inc., position.section="opinion"Con-way Freight, Covenant Transport, Inc., Dillon Transport, Inc., Gordon Trucking, Inc., J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., NFI Pacific Harbor Line, Inc., Quad/Graphics, Roehl Transport, Inc., Schneider National, Inc., Stan Koch & Sons Trucking, Swift Transportation Company, Trailer Bridge, Inc., UPS, Watkins, Shepard Trucking, Inc.

Shippers: HP, Kohl's Department Stores, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Lowe's Companies Inc., Sharp Electronics Corporation, Logistics Companies, APL Logistics, Hub Group, Inc., Transplace.

Affiliates: Cascade Sierra Solutions.

All Green Moves are not Rosy

Sponsored by Penske Logistics and conducted by Dr. Robert Lieb, Professor of Supply Chain Management at Northeastern University, this year's 15th annual 3PL Provider CEO Perspective survey includes insights on going green as it relates to overall business success. Those responding include 20 North American CEOs, 10 European CEOs and nine in the general Asian-Pacific region.

While the survey indicates that overall the 3PL industry has moved ahead with making environmental responsibility part of broad corporate goals, at the same time respondents feel these capabilities are “relatively insignificant in winning new business or retaining existing customers.” In Europe, 100% of respondents held this view. In North America, the same response came from 95% of CEO participants and 89% held the same view in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the survey while CEOs are increasing green spend, the motivation is guided more by understanding it is part of corporate social responsibility than demand from customers.

With the corporate undertakings: 79% have formal sustainability programs; 87% have formal sustainability statements; and 74% have a formal leader of sustainability. However, the survey indicates that globally fewer than 3% of customers have performance metrics to track their 3PLs ability to help them achieve green goals.

Toyota's Green TIEM

Toyota's “Global Earth Charter” is deeply embedded into everything the company does, says Brett Wood president of Toyota Material Handling USA Inc. — right down to lift truck manufacturing.

Wood says more than 80% of Toyota lift trucks sold in North America are manufactured at the Columbus, IN., facility, known as Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM). The 870,000-square-foot TIEM plant is no ordinary manufacturing base. Since opening in 1990, facility operations have been based on green goals written directly into Toyota's corporate philosophy.

In November 1999, the facility earned ISO 14001 environmental management system certification, a voluntary standard that verifies a formal environmental policy, along with established mechanisms for continuous improvement. Since then, the plant has achieved a 33% reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions, 80% reduction in hazardous air pollutants (HAP), 40% reduction in energy consumption and 65% reduction in natural gas consumption.

“The Columbus plant is a zero-landfill facility,” says Wood. Rather than dumping its trash at local landfills, Toyota has the waste transported to a fuel-to-energy facility that helps power downtown Indianapolis.

TIEM is one of only 14 Indiana businesses inducted as a charter member of Indiana's new Environmental Stewardship program. To be members, businesses must have good environmental track records and continue to make improvements in pollution prevention. TIEM is also a member of the Indiana Partners for Pollution Prevention (P2) organization, a voluntary program for Indiana businesses to benchmark and share their successes in environmental improvement. TIEM has also been honored with Indiana's Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence for the past five years, according to Wood.

TIEM involves its associates in its environmental stewardship. Employees are encouraged to recycle paper, aluminum cans and toner cartridges, and all proceeds are donated to four charities, including local Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis and national Make a Wish Foundation (Phoenix).

In 2007, Toyota Material Handling started a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation (Nebraska City, NB) that led to more than 20,000 new trees being planted across the country. “For every 8-Series lift truck delivered in 2007, we planted a tree through the Arbor Day Foundation,” says Wood. The commitment in 2008 extends to every Toyota lift truck delivered. “The number of trees we will plant in 2008 should rise to more than 30,000.”

Things go Better with Hybrid Electrics and More

Coca-Cola Enterprises has purchased 120 new trucks that use Eaton Corp.'s hybrid-electric drivetrain. The company bought 20 of the trucks last year. Utilization of the trucks has resulted in a 32% decrease in emissions and a 37% decrease in fuel consumption over Coca-Cola's conventional fleet.

The beverage manufacturer's corporate director of fleet procurement, Dave Leasure, says, “In addition to the environmentally friendly advantages that hybrid vehicles deliver, we are also happy to report that driver acceptance has been highly favorable, especially in high start-and-stop applications. They hybrid drive units have been performing very well in communicating with the electronic engines, always giving us the necessary torque and horsepower when it is needed.”

Navastar is using the Eaton parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid architecture that Coca-Cola is experiencing with its truck. The manufacturer has introduced a diesel electric hybrid Class 7 tractor, the International DuraStar hybrid, aimed at serving needs of general freight haulers as well as food and beverage distributors.

The Eaton system incorporates an electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the automated manual transmission. The hybrid-electric system recovers energy during braking and can add power back into the driveline during start and acceleration.

Taking the LEED in Buildings

Stirling Capital Investments has brought what it claims is the first project-wide Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-registered green buildings to California's High Desert. The ultimately 60 million sq ft of commercial and industrial space is designed to handle warehousing and logistics operations at the Southern California Logistics Centre (SCLC) at Victorville, CA.

To earn LEED Certification, many process reviews are undertaken, including such project parameters such as water efficiency, energy conservation, materials and resources usage, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design. The standards were created by the United States Green Building Council.

In commenting on the development, Brian Parno, vice president with Stirling Capital Investments, observed, “We believe sophisticated corporations value the importance of being environmentally prudent, therefore, we are aligning ourselves with that mission by taking a proactive approach in developing green buildings at SCLC.”

ProLogis is installing a 534 KW solar power system on the roof of its 246,000 sq ft distribution center (DC) at ProLogis Park PDX in northeast Portland, OR. It is scheduled for completion in December. This is the largest of three Portland DC solar power installations. The other two, designed to provide a total of 574 KW more energy, will be on separate nearby DCs at ProLogis Park PDX Corporate Center East.

Five miles southeast of Portland International Airport, ProLogis Park PDX, Building 4, the largest of the installations, was built according to LEED certification standards.

This project is the second large-scale, rooftop solar installation for ProLogis in the US, notes Jack Rizzo, the company's managing director of global construction. “ProLogis is committed to implementing enough renewable energy systems to obtain a combined generation capacity of over 25 million kilowatt hours (KWh) per year by 2010,” he said. “This project will certainly help us achieve that goal.”

Paint Me Green

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL, President: Akimitsu Ashida) announced test results showing the benefits of a heat-shielding paint that can save fuel, reduce CO2 emissions, and reduce long-term vessel maintenance costs.

The Technology Research Center in MOL's Technical Division has completed a yearlong test of heat-shielding paints from 10 manufacturers. Along with group company M.O. Engineering Co., Ltd., MOL applied a test coating of the highest-rated paint to the deck of a large ferry. The test confirmed that the paint effectively reduced temperatures inside the ferry and saved electricity by reducing the load on the vessel's air conditioning system.

The heat-shielding paint used for the test helps block heat generated by sunlight. In addition to improving passenger and crew comfort, boosting air conditioning efficiency, and cutting CO2 emissions, the paint is durable and weatherproof, and will cut ship maintenance costs. The paint is already used on land for buildings, large bridges, factories, tanks, plants, warehouses, vehicles, and railroads. However, this test marks the first use on a large vessel.

Yield Management Has Positive Environmental Impact

Jacksonville FL-based Enviromodal has opened its doors. It describes itself as a brand-neutral, financial- and environmental-focused transportation initiative.

Enviromodal will manage, market and sell domestic surplus transportation capacity and offer that capacity to clients through real-time, web-based technology, according to the group. It will provide intermodal, railcar and marine-shared assets to fulfill transportation needs utilizing either Enviromodal's negotiated rate contracts or those of the shipper.

Through collaboration with various transportation and information technology providers, Enviromodal says it will yield-manage rail and truck assets for its clients, increasing asset utilization and reducing empty miles. This, in turn, will lead to less consumption of fossil fuels and lower air pollutants, says Enviromodal.

“Enviromodal will achieve this by bringing visibility and easy access to empty capacity,” said Doug Baland, program director, Enviromodal. “To accomplish this, Enviromodal has partnered with REZ-1 to provide the latest customized software solutions and business processes for a complete transportation solution.”

According to Enviromodal, clients will be able to reserve equipment on a round-the-clock basis, have access to real-time equipment availability, manage their Enviromodal shipments, use a one-stop rail billing feature, have visibility to real-time billing information, and submit questions about charges in real-time.

Enviromodal is currently offering capacity in the market lane from Jacksonville, FL to Secaucus, NJ. It promises the opening of additional lanes by the end of the year.

Airbus and Boeing Will Work Together on Environmental Issues

The two strong competitors in the manufacture of aircraft will collaborate to speed improvements in the world's air transportation management system. The goal of the initiative is to help both those in aviation and government to determine the most direct path to a modern system that will both increase efficiency and eliminate traffic congestion. As the producers explain, their work is one of three parts aimed at improving the environmental performance of aviation. The other two prongs are competition — which is critical for environmental and technological advances that result in new aircraft programs such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 — and support for industry alignment on environmental positions where appropriate.

“Airbus and Boeing are great competitors,” notes Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This has been a critical element that has sharpened our focus and efforts toward making aviation more efficient. While our approaches often differ, we are working towards the same goal — to reduce aviation's environmental impact.”