With the rising popularity of environment, social, and governance (ESG), many companies are looking at ways to incorporate it into their business practices. Trucking fleet management companies can especially benefit from using ESG to maximize their fleet efforts and operations. ESG can help these companies reduce carbon emissions, improve worker health and safety, and reinforce their own codes of conduct, all of which save time and money. But, many companies don’t know where to start or know all of the things ESG can do for their fleets. This blog will break down answers to some of the questions clients have regarding ESG and their trucking fleet management.
How do Fleet Operations Fit into ESG?
There are effective ways to reduce carbon emissions through trucking efficiency. Some examples include moving to alternative fuels that are more efficient, using electric vehicles on short hauls / in-town, installing aerodynamic vehicle accessories, and implementing a no idle policy when parked.
It’s also a good idea to reduce ‘empty miles’ and routes by investing in technology to track load amounts which have the ability to optimize logistics. Increasing full truckloads (FTLs) and being creative by including ‘shared truckloads’ as a way to combine two less-than-truckloads (LTLs) is another effective way to reduce wasted time, money, and emissions.
When driving, evaluating speed and identifying ideal speeds for your fleet can reduce emissions per mile. Training matters, too. Providing classroom and on-road training to your fleet drivers helps them maximize their fuel efficiency. Truck drivers themselves can do a lot to increase the sustainability of a fleet, as the American Transportation Research Institute demonstrates in their guide.
Finally, to reduce waste, developing a ‘pallet pool’ is a good way to reuse pallets by sharing them among customers and clients.
The main thing to remember here is that trucker well-being should be top of mind, including their working hours and worker safety. For example, during working hours, it’s important you allow them to stop work when they are fatigued and need to rest.
Also, working with clients to provide breakrooms that truckers can access is another good way to keep trucker well-being at the forefront. This could include relaxation spaces with tables, chairs, and couches, too. It should also include access to healthy food options, restrooms, and showers. This could be with private clients or at truck stops. Providing these hard-to-find amenities for truckers can make all the difference in their health, happiness, and safety on the road.
Next up, employee benefits should mimic the ones any office worker usually gets. That means healthcare, Employee Assistant Programs (EAP), life insurance, and more. You should also ensure that insurance providers are available nationwide to cover long-haul drivers while they are out of their home area. These benefits are even more important for truckers due to the high level of stress and personal impact the job has on them.
Driving a truck and sitting in one spot for a long period of time can negatively impact a person's physical well-being, so benefits packages should include access to nationwide gyms, physical health classes, and even chiropractors – as back pain is a common ailment from the job.
This isn’t just about a trucker’s physical well-being, though. Mental well-being is also important and offering remote mental support should be part of the benefits package, too. In the same vein, connecting with other people can break up job monotony and improve worker well-being. Creating ways for employees to connect either in-person or remotely is vital.
Stress from traffic and difficulties moving trucks in and out of tight spaces can create distraction and fatigue. Providing resources to dispatchers so they understand the importance of route support and where large trucks will or will not fit is essential. Plus, providing resources to drivers to help them manage stress and fatigue in a healthy manner should be top of mind.
Another thing that’s important for the ‘Social’ piece of ESG is recognizing and mitigating human trafficking while on the road. Committing to Human Rights by participating in the UN Guiding Principles and developing a human rights and anti-trafficking policy for your drivers can go a long way to help. You should be ensuring drivers have training on human trafficking, including how to spot it, what to do, and what actions to take if they see it.
Finally, it’s important to focus on hiring and retaining diverse talent. Right now, the majority of drivers are white men, and you should think of how to be inclusive to all potential candidates.
This portion includes how you manage operations, including your compliance around E and S, leadership buy-in, and accountability. You can do this by ensuring your company has a business code of conduct that includes a commitment to ethical conduct and breaking down what this means for your specific organization.
Be transparent with what you are doing and what you are planning for the future. You should also monitor the maturity of environmental and social governance within your organization. Ultimately, environmental and social considerations should be integrated into all business decisions leaders make.
How do you Document Progress?
Many organizations already have some type of management system in place, whether it be a quality, environmental, or safety management system. Leadership can leverage the integration of all types of management systems to start building their ESG plans and mature existing systems.
The investments that have already been made to create a governance structure, implement risk management processes and ensure employee engagement in company goals and culture will fit into an ESG framework. To save time and money, and capitalize on the level of maturity that already exists within these various systems, organizations can integrate their ESG framework with other management system frameworks.
As ESG gets more popular, more and more companies are looking for ways to benefit from it. You may not even realize all the ways your business already relates to ESG and how taking an ESG outlook can improve your business. From better worker health to lower emissions, ESG can have an especially positive impact on trucking fleet management.
If you’re ready to get started implementing ESG into your fleet management business, reach out to Antea Group about our Transportation and DOT compliance services, our ESG advisory services, and our climate change and carbon management services for more information.
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