Tools Toward Fleet Sustainability

Feb. 17, 2022

As construction equipment-using organizations move toward sustainability, fleet managers must respond. But first, they must understand what’s being asked of them.

The World Green Building Council defines the pulling together of all an organization’s sustainable practices and policies as harmonizing: where one department’s policy concept requires coordination with another’s concept for both to be put into effective practice. Harmonizing requires that each department proactively acknowledge how its actions affect other departments as they all work toward the company’s goals of equipment longevity, cost containment, energy efficiency, social responsibility, and government guidance.

Harmonizing’s foundation is in simplifying processes and using compatible metrics to measure advancement toward an organization’s objectives. This means equipment managers need to communicate with each department to clarify expectations and goals. An open-form corporate sustainability mission statement without clearly defined goals and intentions will gain little traction.

Start by standardizing intra-company communications and terminology for specific goals and metrics to help eliminate misunderstood direction and expectations. Find measurable targets, establish incentives, and conduct regular reviews.

ISO 14001:2015, Environmental Management System, outlines a systematic approach that can help organize sustainable objectives and planning. ISO 14001:2015 offers support for term and conditions, organizational roles and policy, planning actions and objectives, and operation performance evaluation.

Help can be found in sustainability software programs that can centralize data for analysis and reporting. Most utilize the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle which is the operating principle of all ISO management system standards. Programs can simplify workflow, track changes, ensure data is traceable and verified, and allow other users to collaborate. Some software will generate compliance reports and offer to automatically submit them to specified agencies.

Sustainability resources

Capterra—a list of more than 100 suppliers of sustainability software for business, with reviews.

Life Cycle Perspective (Life Cycle Thinking)—how-to’s for life cycle assessments, costing, strategies, and comparisons.

Acquisition Life Cycle Tools—guidance and online tools useful for cost-effective and sustainable purchases.

EPA Sustainable Marketplace: Greener Products and Services—identify best practices for cost-effective, sustainable acquisitions and pollution prevention (P2) resources.

U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center—deep info dive on fuels, idle reduction savings calculator, project assistance, energy cost calculators and widgets, fleet rightsizing, etc.

Resources for Verifying Sustainable Product—The Vendor Compliance Determination Resources with Single Attributes search provides impartial comparisons of similar product and can help in finding verifiable bio-content percentage.

USDA Biopreferred Catalog Program—double check a manufacturer’s product label and verify if a product has been tested by an independent lab and earned the USDA biobased label.

Green Procurement Compilation—purchasing guidance for specific areas including lube, oil, hydraulic fluid, and grease; renewable energy; fleet maintenance; roadway construction; vehicles and vehicle products.

Department of Defense Sustainable Products Center—offers detailed demonstration and reports on biobased products such as grease, hydraulic fluids, oils, and more.