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'Greening' Transportation in the Supply Chain

The country's largest corporations have hit a road bump on their way toward factoring sustainability into their transportation choices. Despite pressures from customers and investors — and the prospect of evervolatile energy costs--just 9% of Fortune 500 companies include environmental goals in their public documents. A study of those 44 companies reveals some of the best practices that can help a business go the distance, ultimately working with its partners to rethink its entire transportation infrastructure.

Companies must demonstrate three distinct levels of integration before they can embed the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into their transportation strategies: establishing a foundation (acknowledging the problem), changing internal company practices (building an environmentally aware culture) and impacting supply chain practices (such as better vehicle utilization or more efficient routing). Within these categories, the tactics need to be measured by carefully calibrated metrics that can track both environmental and financial progress. As employees begin adapting their own decision making to the new priority--by, for instance, choosing videoconferencing instead of traveling--executives should spread such success stories, reinforcing the institutional preference.

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