How Freight Shippers Can Make an Impact on Sustainability
While a new year often finds many people vowing to reduce their bad habits or calorie count, there’s another resolution geared just for the freight industry: reducing the carbon footprint of shipping. Sustainability in freight has never been more important, and there’s no better time than the present to reevaluate your supply chain for greener alternatives.
While there are a number of ways you can make your shipping operations greener, there’s one giant leap you can make that not only sets you up for success, but also immediately signals that you’re an industry leader in the freight sustainability movement: committing to being a SmartWay freight partner.
Never heard of SmartWay? You’re in luck—we’ve got the details you need on what it is, how you can participate, and what it means for a greener shipping future.
What Is SmartWay?
SmartWay Transport is a voluntary sustainability program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in which shippers and carriers provide accountability metrics to track the impact their business has on the environment and reduce carbon emissions within the freight industry. It offers a streamlined system that affiliated partners can use to measure and report their emissions output and fuel consumption.
Through SmartWay, interested parties can not only research and choose shippers, carriers, brokers, and other logistics companies that align with their environmental values—you can find also information on a plethora of shipping and freight-related topics including:
- High-efficiency freight equipment
- Eco-friendly and fuel-saving operational strategies
- Alternative fuels and green technologies
Shippers and carriers receive customized plans to reduce their carbon footprint as well as educate their respective partners on measures they can take to implement eco-friendly processes into their own supply chains.
SmartWay operates with state and local government support as well as a global network of governments and organizations to set standards for measuring, tracking, and improving upon sustainability initiatives.
SmartWay Partner Qualifications
There are different levels of participation in the SmartWay Transport partnership, each of which has varied eligibility requirements. For example, to be a SmartWay 2 Shipping Partner, shippers must be ready to submit carbon tracking data and enroll their carrier partners into the SmartWay program, whereas a SmartWay 1 Shipping Partner must only commit to educating its carrier partners and consult a SmartWay Transport account manager for a customized action plan.
In general, though, the EPA requires all of its shipping and carrier partners to:
- Measure the footprint of your supply chain
- Create performance benchmarks
- Track and accurate report your results
- Find ways to optimize and improve your operations
- Capitalize on these optimizations to create higher efficiency
Becoming a SmartWay Partner or Affiliate
You can register as a SmartWay Partner whether you’re a shipper, carrier, or logistics company. You’ll complete an initial application that will prompt a U.S. EPA representative to get in touch and walk you through the steps toward SmartWay certification. There are a number of guides to help you understand what’s required based on:
- What kinds of goods you ship (food and beverage vs. paper goods, etc.)
- Your carrier type (truck carrier vs. multimodal carrier, etc.)
- How your brokerage operates
Other parties that don’t directly ship goods but are committed to furthering freight sustainability can still participate as a SmartWay Affiliate. You might register as a SmartWay affiliate if you represent:
- An academic institution.
- A trade organization.
- A local, state, or federal agency.
- A car dealer or leasing company.
Affiliates earn recognition from the EPA for furthering the message and education around sustainable shipping. Similar to becoming a SmartWay Partner, you’ll submit an Affiliate Agreement that describes your business before an EPA representative contacts you directly to verify your application and credentials.
Showing Your SmartWay Pride
So—you’ve put in the hard work toward implementing sustainable measures into your business. Now, how do you tell the world that you’re an eco-friendly shipper? SmartWay Partners and Affiliates have the option of using SmartWay-branded logos and materials to show their certification and participation in the program, signaling to others in the industry that they’re committed to freight sustainability within the business. According to the EPA, the SmartWay mark “signifies the gold standard in freight efficiency accounting and designates SmartWay partners as corporate leaders” in the clean freight movement.
Join a Sustainable Flock
Just as we’re pushing the boundaries of the LTL industry through technological advances, Flock Freight is ahead of the game on sustainable shipping. We strongly believe that shipping smarter leaves our planet healthier, and we’re proud to be a certified SmartWay logistics partner.
Our FlockDirect solution removes nonessential trucks from the road entirely by pooling multiple LTL shipments that are traveling along the same route via TL service. FlockDirect shipments move directly from their pickup locations to their destinations without terminal stops in between. Fewer miles driven equals fewer emissions and less wear and tear on trucks. Plus, pooling avoids frequent onloading and offloading, both of which damage freight. When goods stay intact, they don’t need to be remanufactured, offsetting yet another unnecessary carbon cost.