How SmartWay Supports Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability Reporting
Today, many large publicly traded U.S. and multinational corporations and private companies of all sizes are committed to improving the sustainability of their operations. Developing CSR or sustainability plans can help companies to establish and track goals to reduce the social and environmental impacts of their business operations.
To address climate change, more shippers are setting aggressive carbon emission reduction targets, including freight in their supply chains. SmartWay helps carriers and logistics providers distinguish themselves for their commitment to efficient and sustainable freight. Shippers can use the program to select cleaner, more sustainable carriers in their freight procurements.
Fossil fuel use is widely recognized as a contributor to climate change because of the carbon dioxide (CO2) it emits when burned. Climate change is an issue commonly included in CSR and sustainability plans.
Freight transportation has relied heavily upon diesel and other fossil fuels and is a significant and growing source of CO2 emissions. In fact, every gallon of diesel burned generates between 20-22 pounds of CO2. It also produces many other harmful pollutants, including nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and black carbon, a component of PM.
For trucking companies and other carriers that directly own trucks and other equipment to run freight, reducing fuel use contributes to improved efficiency. The lowered operational costs make good business sense. Increasingly, freight carriers, their shipper customers and logistics providers also want to calculate the emission reductions and other environmental and social benefits of these efficiency improvements. EPA’s SmartWay program makes that possible by providing its shipper, carrier and logistics partners with a unique and proven set of freight assessment tools, branding opportunities and reports that can be easily integrated into their CSR and sustainability plans.
How Partners Use SmartWay in their CSR and Sustainability Reports
Shipper, carrier and logistics companies that commit to SmartWay send a clear signal that they care about freight sustainability and can highlight their participation in the program as part of their CSR programs aimed at improving air quality and mitigating climate change. They can include their SmartWay Partner status and results in their sustainability plans, reports and branding.
SmartWay Partners are provided with freight emissions assessment tools and reports that help them to benchmark, monitor and improve the environmental performance of their freight operations. Their results also can be included in CSR and sustainability plans and reports. They serve to demonstrate a company’s commitment and provide tangible evidence of progress toward reducing emissions and improving the efficiency and sustainability of their company’s freight operations.
SmartWay Metrics For CSR, Sustainability Reporting
Carbon dioxide is a common metric for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in sustainability and CSR reports. Freight has relied heavily upon fossil fuels as an energy source. For some companies, freight emissions can exceed emissions from the energy used to power their manufacturing facilities or office buildings. For companies that move a lot of freight, joining SmartWay to benchmark and disclose the energy use and CO2 emissions associated with their shipping operations makes good sense.
To assess CO2 emissions performance, SmartWay provides its partners with two basic emissions metrics. One metric is based on the mass (grams) of carbon dioxide emitted for every mile of freight moved (CO2 g/mi) or grams per mile. The second is based on the mass (grams) of carbon dioxide emitted for every ton of freight moved per mile (CO2 g/tm) or grams per ton-mile. These metrics also may be used to establish annual CO2 inventories of freight emissions.
Shippers can use these metrics to measure the environmental performance and efficiency of the freight carriers and logistics providers they hire. These metrics also are the basis for several other reports SmartWay provides its partners, including a shipper performance report.
In addition to CO2, SmartWay provides similar metrics for NOx, PM and black carbon, three air pollutants that also important for assessing and monitoring the environmental performance of trucking fleets, logistics providers and the rail, air and barge equipment they use to move freight.
Importantly, SmartWay’s emissions metrics and the methodology supporting those metrics have been adopted globally and domestically by major non-profit and for-profit organizations that support CSR and sustainability planning. These include the World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol, CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project), Global Reporting Initiative, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, Global Logistics Emissions Council and many others. Read more about commonly used CSR reporting frameworks and protocols.
By providing its partners with real-world data on freight’s environmental performance, SmartWay’s goal is to support their commitment to strengthen the sustainability of not only their shipping operations but the health of the freight industry, the economy and U.S. competitiveness globally.
More Resources for CSR and Freight Sustainability Planning
As the freight industry grows and emissions increase, shippers, logistics providers and freight carriers are collaborating to improve freight efficiency, test clean fuel alternatives to diesel and reduce shipping costs. Shippers, logistics companies and carriers are including freight in their CSR and sustainability plans. Researchers, universities and policymakers also are taking note and examining the financial, social and environmental benefits of improving freight sustainability.
For more information on how SmartWay fits into sustainability and CSR planning, contact your Partner Account Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-214-4767.
- Introducing Corporate Social Responsibility to Freight and Logistics
- SmartWay Carrier Performance Rankings
- CSR Frameworks and SmartWay
- Resources for SmartWay Partners and Affiliates
- Example SmartWay Shipper Performance Report (PDF)(4 pp, 354 K, June, 2018, About PDF )
- Freight Sustainability Leadership