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RECONCILING CLEAN ENERGY WITH PROFITABILITY

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Introduction

In its purest sense, the demand for sustainability initiatives assumes a shared desire to protect and preserve the diverse ecosystems and life forms on Earth. However, as profit-driven entities across the globe pursue these initiatives, they often must reevaluate and adapt their existing processes, technologies and operating philosophies.

Shippers whose distribution of goods relies on a network of transportation companies have limited options to promote impactful sustainability, however, because emissions are typically generated in much larger part by carriers. While the transportation industry collectively waits for the imminent replacement of carbon combustion engines with battery powered trucks, sustainability initiatives frequently struggle to move beyond measures that conveniently coincide with what is also financially beneficial: maximized trailer utilization, less-than-truckload consolidation, reduced deadhead miles and appropriate mode shifts.

In partnership with Transplace, FreightWaves surveyed its audience of shippers to determine their current motivations and strategies for sustainability initiatives. This white paper widens the lens for shippers to see how their internal initiatives compare with those of their competitors, perhaps offering the opportunity to evolve their current framework as the industry navigates proactive steps for sustainability alongside regulatory requirements.

A wide range of industries and transportation budgets were represented in the survey data. The single most common sector represented (just over 23%) was consumer packaged goods (CPG). Less represented industries were retail, manufacturing and automotive. Half of respondents wrote in other industries such as health care, agriculture and technology. In terms of shippers’ transportation budgets, 60% fell into the $1 million to $20 million range, while 20% reported their annual transportation budgets as above $500 million.

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