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Fleet Sector Partnership Aims for 20% Cut in Emissions

Today, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) joins with Donlen, a leading fleet management company, and GreenDriver, a company specializing in driver education, in a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the commercial fleet sector by 20 percent over the next five years.

This pledge is being made at the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting, attended by Donlen CEO Gary Rappeport and EDF President Fred Krupp. We invite others to join this effort too, including commercial fleets, fleet management companies and environmental organizations. Together, we can make a difference.

Stabilizing the Earth's climate is the critical environmental challenge of our time. Many effects of global warming are already being felt and will only grow worse with inaction. Vehicles in corporate fleets release 45 million metrics tons of emissions each year. Reducing the emissions from commercial fleet vehicles can be part of the solution to tackling this challenge.

Opportunities for reducing emissions are plentiful. Right-sizing vehicles to match the job at hand, reducing miles through improved routing, moving to more efficient models, adopting "fuel-smart" driving behaviors (PDF), cutting idling, and deploying advanced technology vehicles are a few of the tactics available. All of these offer significant payback on investment. A few require no upfront investment at all. Each of these tactics is delivering emissions reductions today.

Good emissions management is not unlike good business management. For any company to get the most out of these or other tactics, it needs a long-term vision and a strategic plan formulated for its unique needs and circumstances. Our joint commitment through the Clinton Global Initiative provides joining companies a vision: reduce emissions 20 percent between now and the end of 2016. Because it is performance-based, the commitment is agnostic on the pathway a company uses to meet the goal. It remains incumbent on the company to undertake the planning process on how to meet the goal.

The goal is in reach for many companies already. Consider that 80 of the 300 companies with 1,000 or more vehicles have a publicly announced greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. Many companies have already achieved reductions of this magnitude in fleet emissions. The next five years will also see the availability of more efficient vehicles through increases CAFE standards, while electric and other advanced technology vehicles will become more widely available too. Together, the fleet industry can meet this challenge.

Of course, a few companies will face greater challenges given the specific requirements for their vehicles. We welcome these companies into the fold too. Every ton reduced matters.

During the past five years, the commercial fleet industry has created infrastructure to track emissions and developed a deep understanding of how to successfully deploy many emission reducing tactics. EDF believes that the industry is ready to take the next step and start to collectively act towards this aggressive, yet achievable emissions reduction goal.

We applaud Donlen and GreenDriver for taking a central role in coordinating this commitment. We look forward to working with both companies and the entire fleet industry to meet this challenge. Together, we can make a difference.

Jason Mathers is a project manager in EDF's corporate partnerships program. This content is cross-posted at the EDF Innovation Exchange.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user pedrosimoes7.

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