Why Are Organizations So Focused On Sustainability Now?
Sustainability and climate change have become increasingly pressing issues for all types of businesses and organizations. There is more internal and external pressure than ever before for organizations to make their practices sustainable and to find different ways of doing so.
For fleets, this pressure can be overwhelming, especially as transportation is considered the greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States at 29%. This pressure can come directly from consumers demanding accountability, due to local legislation and mandates or to meet company-specific social responsibility goals. Regardless of the motive, more organizations are bringing on dedicated sustainability teams to push initiatives with immediate action.
What is driving sustainability strategies?
Sustainability can mean something different for each distinct organization, especially when it comes to how they approach it. This can include assessing a fleet for EV readiness, considering alternative fuels for ICEVs or evaluating how a fleet compares to others in the industry when it comes to GHG emissions and idle time.
Let’s take a look at some of the different reasons why organizations are tackling sustainability and how they are doing so.
The promise of zero fleet-related emissions is tempting when it comes to sustainability reporting and corporate social responsibility, not to mention the substantial fuel cost savings. But for a long time, EVs simply didn’t have the availability and variety to meet the needs of fleets and individual consumers. As of 2022, there will be nearly 100 different electric vehicle models available in North America, broadening the market in terms of price point, vehicle size and range. This will likely give fleet managers the final push to electrify wherever they can.
In a survey we ran in 2021 among some of the most influential utility companies in North America, we found that nearly every fleet had plans to electrify on some scale in the immediate future. While participants’ fleets averaged at only 3% electric at the time of being surveyed, 31% of fleets anticipated 10 to 25% of their fleet to be electric in the upcoming three years, with another 16% of participants expecting to electrify upwards of 25%. These findings are significant because they show that while it may not have been as important in the past, going electric is on managers’ minds more than ever and the ready availability of class 1 and 2 vehicles today makes this easier to put into action.
Accountability and transparency
A sense of responsibility to the public and to the planet has become an imperative factor of modern business models. Today, 81% of global consumers feel strongly that companies have a responsibility to improve the environment and a majority of consumers would even spend more for products from a sustainable brand. Due to the high impact of transportation on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, this push for transparency evidently pertains to fleet management as well.
In fact, a recent survey we ran at the end of 2021 on GHG reporting revealed that nearly 40% of fleets surveyed felt customer demand is the largest driver for sustainability reporting. In addition to internal sustainability initiatives, which was the leading driver for, many fleets today are feeling pressure to report their impact publicly.
This is especially relevant for organizations that have announced major sustainability goals for upcoming decades, as consumers are unlikely to be satisfied if progress toward these stated goals is not tracked and publicly released.
General cost savings
Reduction of long-term fuel and maintenance costs is another major benefit to making practices greener and many organizations are now catching onto this. While change in any capacity can often be time-intensive and cost-intensive for companies, it is becoming more widely understood that the investment into sustainability can pay off.
The most obvious investment a fleet can make is into electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Depending on the size of a fleet this can be a massive financial undertaking, but over the lifecycle of your EVs and ICEVs, it becomes apparent that EVs generally have a lower total cost of ownership in the long run. This is largely due to fuel being one of the highest operating costs for fleets. Fleets also save a substantial amount of money in preventative maintenance when they go electric, due to there being fewer moving parts in EVs.
For fleets made of up heavier duty trucks that don’t have electric alternatives, it can be worth considering converting vehicle engines to be natural gas compatible. Natural gas emits less than half the amount of greenhouse gases as regular oil or coal and can cost as little as half the price per gallon compared with gasoline. While the cost of converting the vehicles and lower fuel performance must be taken into account, it is still a viable option for fleets who cannot electrify.
The bottom line
In summary, there are countless explanations to why sustainability has become such a hot topic in recent years. While much of the buzz has resulted from the increasingly urgent climate crisis, it appears that organizations are beginning to realize the multitude of ways in which sustainability can promise longevity not only for the planet but for the company as well. Whether it be environmental, social or economic sustainability, the true idea of sustainability ensures that what an organization puts forth is evergreen and fruitful not only today but for years to come.
If you’re interested in finding out more about more sustainability solutions that fit your fleet’s needs, schedule a demo with a member of our analytics team today.