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When is the last time you thought about who is involved in your RFP process? There might be someone missing: If your company or the company/public entity you are hoping to work with has someone focused on sustainability, they should definitely be involved.
As environmental sustainability influences the transportation industry more and more, a growing number of organizations are establishing this type of position—often called a sustainability officer, sustainability program manager, a manager of supply chain sustainability or something along those lines.
And they care about things like emissions reductions—which is where your fleet’s fuel choices come into play.
Transportation is no longer just about being the fastest in getting products from Point A to Point B—it’s what you do and what you help your customers do to support sustainability along the way.
So whether you’re responding to RFPs, trying to land new customers or exploring how to grow your business, keeping this type of audience in mind will become more critical every day. Some fleets are already seeing this focus pay off.
“We’ve noticed that there are more and more customers asking us to participate in their sustainability efforts,” said Vince Buonassi, group manager of transportation programs at G&D Integrated, a for-hire carrier headquartered in Illinois. “And we’ve actually been awarded freight based on our biodiesel usage.”
Fuel makes a big difference
You’re probably doing several things to improve your fuel efficiency—adding aerodynamic features to trucks, optimizing routes, using telematics to mitigate excessive idling, the list goes on.
But have you paid close enough attention to the fuel itself? Lots of alternative fuels are out there. Two are growing in popularity, largely for their significantly lower lifecycle emissions and ease of use: biodiesel and renewable diesel.
In fact, biodiesel has been shown to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86%. Renewable diesel also excels at reducing emissions. They’re both primarily produced from animal fats, recycled cooking oil and vegetable oils that are by-products of other processes, so those who care about sourcing (like sustainability officers evaluating your fleet) will be pleased, too.
A newer option fleets should consider is blending renewable diesel with biodiesel. At REG, we offer a blend called REG Ultra Clean Diesel, which significantly reduces total hydrocarbons (more than 20%), particulate matter (more than 40%), carbon monoxide (more than 25%) and NOx (by 10%) compared to petroleum diesel.
With renewable diesel demand outpacing supply, this is a great way to stretch supply while continuing to run on a 100% renewable fuel and promote sustainability.
Solutions for right now
Electric vehicles are getting a lot of attention, but they are not going to be viable for long-haul usage anytime soon. Changing your fuel is something you can do right now—biodiesel blends and renewable diesel are drop-in solutions that don’t require major infrastructure or equipment changes.
That is sure to impress a sustainability officer.
“There’s really no sense fighting the tide of sustainability,” said Buonassi. “We feel it is our duty to be good environmental custodians, and it makes business sense for us.”
Steve Klein is senior manager of marketing at Renewable Energy Group, a biodiesel and renewable diesel producer. If you would like to learn more about why and how to incorporate this audience into your process, he can be reached at [email protected].