6 Essentials to Include in Your Fleet Sustainability Policy
Fleet sustainability is not only important from an ethical standpoint; it’s vital to your bottom line. Look at some of today’s most successful fleets with continued brand equity growth like Amazon, FedEx, and Ikea, and you’ll notice a common denominator — a commitment to lowering emissions.
And we’re not talking about some vague “feel-good,” “we’re trying to go green” approach. Instead, almostall top fleets have fully fleshed out policies that strategically cover their game plan for taking emissions to an absolute minimum, andh long-term goals to get there.
In this post, we’ll discuss six specific elements to include in a fleet sustainability policy so you’ll know what to focus on when crafting your own.
1. The Reasoning Behind Your Fleet Sustainability Policy
A necessary precursor to everything else is identifying the purpose of creating a fleet sustainability policy in the first place. This will shape your subsequent approach and is critical for getting key stakeholders and your entire team on board.
You may, for example, point out that a significant portion of US greenhouse emissions (28% to be exact) come from transportation. And a pivotal contributor to those emissions is vehicles. By reducing your company’s emissions, you’re actively contributing to improving air quality and, in turn, increasing your social responsibility.
Another reason may be appealing to today’s consumers, who have an increasing interest in buying from sustainable brands. A study by IBM and the National Retail Federation found that nearly 70% of North American consumers prefer to buy from eco-friendly, transparent brands and have values that align with their own. Further, a third of consumers say they would stop buying from a brand if they lose trust. So becoming more sustainable is integral to winning over your target audience and achieving a competitive advantage.
Whatever your exact reasoning is, you’ll want to lay it out briefly in your fleet sustainability policy, as it will guide the rest of your game plan.
2. Where You’re Currently At and Where You Want to Be
Next, articulate the current state of your fleet and what your quantifiable goals are short-term and long-term. Again, Amazon is the gold standard for fleet goal-setting and outlines where they want to be over the next 20 years via a timeline on their Amazon Sustainability page.
For instance, they say their goal is to:
- Have 100% renewable energy by 2025
- Make 50% of their shipments net-zero carbon by 2030
- Deploy 100,000 electric vehicles by 2030
- Attain net-zero carbon emissions across all operations by 2040
The key here is to be hyper-specific, citing numbers and percentages, as this will show you how much progress needs to be made and within what timeframe. It will also come into play later as you measure your progress and refine (something we’ll discuss later).
3. Specific Strategies for Reducing Emissions
After identifying the purpose and goals of your fleet sustainability policy, you need to outline your proposed strategies for reducing emissions. There are two main ways to go about this. One is to lower fuel consumption and increase fuel efficiency while still using traditional fuel-based vehicles. The other is to switch to alternative fuel vehicles like electric and solar-powered. Of course, there’s also a hybrid approach where you gradually make your transition, which is the strategy most successful fleets use.
Again, the specifics are critical here. If, for example, you plan on still sticking with traditional fuel-based vehicles, some strategies could include:
- Replacing fuel-inefficient vehicles with more fuel-efficient ones
- Lowering your idle rate
- Reducing mileage
- Preventing speeding
- Minimizing aggressive driving
Or, if you plan to switch to alternative fuel vehicles, you’ll want to follow an outline similar to Amazon’s that includes the exact types of vehicles you want to use, implementation phases, deadlines, and so on.
A helpful resource for planning your strategies is the Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool from the US Department of Energy. With it, you can create a customized plan and see what the greenhouse and petroleum reduction will be, how big an impact it will have, and how much you can save.
4. Technology You’ll Implement
We just mentioned some common strategies for reducing emissions, including lowering your idle rate, reducing mileage, and preventing speeding. One way many of today’s fleets accomplish those goals is by implementing technology like fleet management software that specifically targets those areas.
VQ Efficiency, for example, has idle reduction technology that lowers the idle rate of fleet vehicles without adversely affecting the ventilation or heating performance. By making changes to the engine parameters via the OBD-II port, a process that takes just 30 minutes, you can significantly reduce vehicle idling while gaining full transparency of driver performance.
And with VQ Safety, you can use a speed governor, which automatically limits how fast your drivers can go. Because fuel efficiency noticeably drops once speeds reach 55 mph or more, this technology is a simple way to improve mileage while simultaneously increasing safety. All while removing the need for driver behavior modifications.
To optimize your fleet sustainability initiatives, you’ll want to select the technology you’ll implement, highlighting specific products in your policy and your features.
5. Driver Training
Besides equipment and technology, the other piece of the puzzle is ensuring your drivers are appropriately trained to minimize carbon emissions. So in your fleet sustainability policy, you’ll want to outline things like:
- Best driving practices
- Eco-friendly habits such as gradual acceleration and deceleration
- Vehicle maintenance like keeping tires properly inflated (this can improve mileage by as much as 3%)
- Training procedures and course duration for new hires
- Ongoing training for existing drivers
Having driver training fully fleshed out like this will ensure you take a systematic approach where everyone is on the same page, which not only aids in sustainability but also improves safety and your overall bottom line.
6. How You’ll Monitor Progress
Finally, it’s necessary to document your progress, so you’ll know what the exact impact is, including:
- The goals you’ve successfully reached
- Which goals haven’t been reached
- Which areas you’re excelling in
- Which areas need more work
Again, having quantifiable data here is important. Ideally, you’ll use a robust analytics platform that’s capable of relaying comprehensive data on sustainability KPIs such as:
- Fuel efficiency
- Average speed
- Driving time
- Idle time
VQ Efficiency works in conjunction with your telematrics provider,, which breaks these KPIs down in easily digestible visuals to track your progress conveniently. As you accumulate data over time, you should be able to gain full transparency and continually refine this aspect of operations until it’s firing on all cylinders.
Fleet sustainability is no longer a catchy buzzword used by a select number of brands with ambitious goals for being eco-friendly. Instead, it’s now ubiquitous, with nearly all the most successful fleets implementing wide-scale sustainability initiatives. For perspective, zero-emission fleet vehicles are projected to double between 2019 and 2023. And it’s a trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon.
You’ll need to create a fleet sustainability policy with the six elements featured above to get fully on board. Include the logic behind your policy, your specific goals, the strategies you’ll use, the technology you’ll implement, driver training techniques, and how you’ll monitor your progress.