Did you know the transportation sector is responsible for more than 20% of UK carbon emissions? Following the conclusion of COP28 in Dubai, where the automotive industry’s carbon impact took centre stage, fleets are reshaping their sustainability blueprints.

We have seen fleets waking up to the business and environmental realities and benefits of striving for net-zero targets set by governments – all with varying degrees of speed and success. In the rollout of sustainability strategies across the supply chain, embracing technologies that can assist with reducing emissions while making the business more efficient is no longer a choice but an imperative.

Jane Bird

What are the most effective and innovative strategies for fleets to become truly sustainable?

  1. Electric Vehicles (EVs): Electric vehicles have become the key focus for sustainability in fleet management. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, are highly energy-efficient, and require less maintenance. However, to make these accessible to many businesses such as in the commercial van market, upfront costs will have to come down and the charging infrastructure needs a massive boost.
  2. Alternative fuels: Biodiesel, natural gas, and hydrogen are fuels which produce fewer emissions compared to petrol or diesel, making them a viable choice for fleets looking to reduce their environmental impact.
  3. Telematics and data analytics: Using technology allows fleet managers to optimise routes, monitor driver behaviour, and maintain vehicles more efficiently. Data-driven decision-making using geodata enhances the environmental and financial efficiency of fleets by planning or amending routes in real-time, leading to fuel cost savings and reduced emissions.
  4. Renewable energy sources: Companies can adopt renewable energy sources to power their fleet operations. Solar panels, wind turbines, and other forms of renewable energy can be used to charge electric vehicles, further reducing the carbon footprint, however, a significant upfront cost is required.
  5. Driver training and tracking: Promoting eco-friendly driving practices through training and incentives encourages responsible driving habits. These efforts contribute to the sustainability of the fleet by reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
  6. Circular economy principles: Embracing circular economy principles in fleet management means reusing, refurbishing, and recycling vehicle components. This reduces waste and conserves resources, aligning with sustainability goals.

Data insights power success

Adopting these practices is all well and good but my concern is fleets should be gaining more valuable insights from the data that comes from these strategies to experience the full environmental and financial benefits.

ESG data provides a comprehensive understanding of environmental, social, and governance factors, offering insights into the sustainability practices, social impact, and governance structures of the fleet operations. This data enables informed decision-making, risk assessment, and the development of strategies to enhance overall sustainability and responsible business practices within the fleet management ecosystem.

Fleet companies need to be leveraging technology and implementing tools like machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to help them analyse vast amounts of ESG data to identify patterns and use predictive analytics to turn data insights into actionable strategies for the business.

Sustainable fleet management is part of a transformation which needs technology to support its future. By adopting innovative approaches and leveraging technology, companies can not only reduce their environmental impact but also enhance their social responsibility and financial viability.

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Despite sustainability often being viewed as costly, challenging, and complex to implement, strategic partnerships with companies dedicated to addressing real-world sustainability challenges can be a game-changer. Collaborating with such entities, driven by a passion for sustainability and armed with creative solutions, allows for the development of a streamlined strategy harmonising with your organisation’s vision, values, people, and processes.

Jane Bird is the Senior Mobility Account Manager for CGI