In 2012, the freight industry was responsible for emitting 2 billion tons of carbon globally, according to representatives from SmartWay, the EPA’s program geared toward reducing transportation-related emissions. They said road freight is the single-greatest emitter of CO2, emitting more than all other modes of transportation combined.
Denise Kearns of SmartWay added that freight is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions, and demand for goods is rising. She said volume is expected to grow 45% by 2025 and quadruple by 2050, tripling the amount of freight emissions.
To keep up with the growing demand, SmartWay has outlined its plans to expand its brand and goals to reduce the environmental, economic and social impact of transportation in the supply chain. During a June 24 webinar, the program outlined its Vision 2020 to reduce carbon emissions before the clean benefits from regulations are available.
“The goal is to stay ahead of the curve to finding ways to reducing emissions,” Kearns said. “We are working with the legacy fleets to try to improve their performance.”
Vision 2020 goals are:
- Catalyzing change across entire freight supply chain
- Serving as global role model for other nations – including regions where extensive freight/greenhouse gas growth is projected
- Using the SmartWay brand to work with shippers to identify green freight leadership
- Acting as a clearinghouse for information sharing and exchange on greener goods movement
- Impacting freight transport greenhouse gas reductions today
“Reducing fuel use is the biggest driver for achieving sustainability,” Kearns said, noting GHG Phases I and II are expected to result in significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
SmartWay representatives said the program is looking for companies/partners that may be interested in reducing “black carbon” and adding it to their green portfolio. Black carbon is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels and biomass, according to EPA. Black carbon is emitted directly into the atmosphere in the form of fine particles and can absorb a million times more energy than carbon dioxide, EPA said.
During the webinar, SmartWay representative Buddy Polovick discussed working to expand the program by incorporating air and marine partnerships to enhance the supply chain.
The goal, he said, is to provide “complete, reliable data on all freight activity in the supply chain and raise awareness to inform the marketplace.” He called SmartWay a one-stop shop for data sharing.
“People are learning that more and more companies are doing carbon accounting,” he said. “We are seeing more and more partners unlock that data and use it for reporting initiatives – we are able to report emission factors and methodologies used. This is something we want to encourage more partners to use in the future.”