Canadian Manufacturing

GM takes aim at carbon footprint of logistics operations

Joining EPA's voluntary SmartWay partnership to examine, reduce carbon emissions



DETROIT—General Motors said it will optimize its logistics operations as a way to reduce carbon emissions as part of a voluntary partnership it is joining in the United States.

According to the automaker, it is joining the voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay partnership as a way to mitigate its carbon footprint.

Under the EPA program, GM will collect its shipping activity data, including which carriers the company uses to ship freight, the number of miles traveled and freight weight.

Combining this information with carrier data, including equipment and service type, GM and its SmartWay partner carriers can develop plans to further reduce carbon emissions.

“Our environmental impact extends from our supply chain to the use of our products,” GM vice-president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs Mike Robinson said in a statement.

“This EPA SmartWay Partnership provides a useful tool to help our company and carriers … to reduce emissions and save fuel and money.”

According to the EPA, 28 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the transportation sector.

Of that percentage, the organization estimate that approximately 30 per cent is freight related.

“By joining SmartWay, GM is on the road to improve the environmental performance of goods movement and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain,” said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

GM said it will encourage its logistics carriers that are not part of the SmartWay partnership to become members and take advantage of tips and training to help save fuel and money, and reduce air pollution and emissions that contribute to climate change.

In its 2012 Sustainability Report, GM identified its supply chain as one of 10 material issues facing the company with respect to its economic, environmental and social impacts.

That year the company engaged its logistics suppliers to make the most of routing, reducing greenhouse gases by 62,000 tons.

This is the equivalent of the CO2 emissions from the annual electricity use of 8,530 homes, the automaker said.

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