The Private Sector Is Playing a Big Role in Clean Air Policies Too
Government laws and regulations aimed at addressing climate change tend to receive a lot of attention, but don’t forget about the private sector. It’s a big driver of the sustainability trend too.
A growing number of companies recognize that supporting the environment is not just the morally right thing to do but also makes good business sense. One example is a study that found that 90% of S&P 500 Index companies published sustainability or corporate responsibility reports in 2019, compared with less than 20% in 2011. ( Related: Check out the REG 2019 environmental, social and governance report.)
Such reporting shows a company’s commitment to sustainability and also increases the pressure on them to improve their performance because they’re sharing it publicly. They’ll want partners to help them.
That’s where fleets come in. The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., so fleets are in a prime position to help other companies lower their carbon footprints.
“We’ve noticed that there are more and more customers asking us to participate in their sustainability efforts,” says Vince Buonassi, group manager of transportation programs at G&D Integrated, a for-hire carrier. “Many of our customers analyze their entire supply chain for environmental impact, and some have even gone as far as incorporating sustainability into their purchasing departments.”
As Buonassi suggests, even if a company has an in-house fleet, this trend can still affect for-hire carriers because many sustainability plans look at the entire supply chain. Consider these big names with private fleets:
- Walmart’s Project Gigaton aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its supply chain by 1 gigaton by 2030. Hundreds of suppliers have signed on.
- Coca-Cola wants to cut GHG emissions across its full value chain by 25% by 2030 compared with 2015 levels and says it will partner with suppliers to help get there.
Cleaner Fuels for Cleaner Air
There are lots of ways a fleet can be greener: trailer skirting, aerodynamic mirrors, tire technology, telematics. The list goes on.
A big factor not to overlook is fuel. Today’s fleets have many more options than just petroleum diesel. When looking for lower-carbon options, it’s important to consider not only tailpipe emissions but also lifecycle emissions — what goes into the full life of the fuel, from its production to its delivery to its end use.
One of the best sources for this is the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which oversees one of the most progressive clean air programs in the world, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. CARB assigns carbon intensity scores to fuels, taking into account the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted for the production and use of a fuel. Here are the scores for various fuels, with lower being more environmentally friendly:
- Biodiesel: 27.0
- Renewable diesel: 34.6
- Compressed natural gas from fossil fuels: 79.2
- Electricity from the California grid: 93.8
- Petroleum diesel: 100.5
Don’t Wait to Act
Another factor in choosing fuel is whether it can make a positive difference right now. Some options require major vehicle upgrades or even all new vehicles. The same goes for fueling storage and dispensing infrastructure.
Electric vehicles have been getting a lot of attention, but when it comes to the trucking industry, the technology and charging infrastructure are not ready to meet current needs, and it may be over a decade before they are.
When a fleet is trying to win business by showcasing its sustainability, it cannot afford to wait.
With biodiesel blends, fleets can start reducing emissions right now. It’s a drop-in fuel that works in existing vehicles, provides strong performance, and has lower emissions compared with many other fuels. Some fleets are even experimenting with 100% biodiesel (known as B100), with only a minor vehicle modification required, to reduce their emissions even further.
Another drop-in option, found primarily on the West Coast, is REG Ultra Clean®, our proprietary blend of renewable diesel and biodiesel. Using the same methodology as CARB, we calculated that an 80/20 blend of our best-in-class renewable diesel and biodiesel would have a carbon intensity score of 17.6, making it a great sustainability solution.
Don’t Miss Out
We’re in a fast-moving world when it comes to environmental policies. While they are the source of some debate, the trend is clear: The public and private sectors are moving toward the adoption of sustainability targets.
If you are in the transportation or fuel industry and want to learn how cleaner fuels can give your business an edge over the competition, Contact REG at (844) 405-0160 or email us at [email protected].
 Average biodiesel and renewable diesel CI scores in 2019: https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/fuels/lcfs/lrtqsummaries.htm. Standard values for fossil-based CNG, grid electricity and petroleum diesel: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/2020_lcfs_fro_oal-approved_unofficial_06302020.pdf
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