The answer to the question ‘Why is a trucking company’s carbon footprint important?’ is simple. It’s enormous!
When diesel burns, it emits carbon atoms, each of which combines with two oxygen atoms to form carbon dioxide (CO2). The volume of carbon dioxide given off from burning just one gallon of diesel equals approximately 194 cubic feet.
A typical heavy-duty truck burns 12,121 gallons of diesel/year (80,000 miles/yr. @ 6.6 MPG). If the annual CO2 emissions volume from that one truck were shaped into a one-foot high layer of gas, it would be large enough to blanket the floors of 21 average sized Wal-Mart stores.
Keep in mind; we are talking about only one truck. To calculate your trucking company’s Carbon Footprint, multiply that volume times the number of trucks in your fleet and then add in the carbon dioxide emissions from facility operations. That’s a lot of CO2.
Shippers understand and are concerned about the magnitude of CO2 generated by their supply chain. For example, just one 200-mile truckload delivery generates over 5,800 cubic feet of CO2 emissions; more than enough to fill the 53-foot trailer delivering that load.
As shipper interest in reducing the size of their supply chain footprint grows, trucking companies need to prepare for the inevitable consequences: accurate carbon reporting and effective carbon reduction programs.
Accurate carbon reporting requires annual carbon audits that combine fleet and facility emissions. EPA’s SmartWay Program does calculate fleet emissions for their transport partners and reports results as midpoints for different ‘emission ranges’. However, greenhouse gas protocol for carbon reporting requires that facility emissions be included in the carbon inventory.
Once the first carbon audit is complete, it is used as the baseline metric to measure performance of a company’s carbon reduction program. Future year audits define the level of success that program has achieved.
Because of the enormous size of their carbon footprint, trucking companies will one day be held accountable for reporting and reducing those emissions. Early adopters will emerge and embrace carbon accountability before it becomes required (by either shippers, regulation or both) and in so doing, will secure the honor, goodwill and financial advantage of being recognized as industry leaders in sustainability.
Recommend Viewing: Supply chain CO2 is increasingly becoming a concern of shippers. The following video provides a comprehensive overview of What Trucking Executives Need to Know about Carbon Dioxide Emissions.