By Brian Matuszewski, Manager, Sustainable Strategies, ARI
As fleets have become more complex, the challenges fleet managers are facing on a day-to-day basis have also become more complex. More often than not these days, companies and organizations are often multidimensional, multinational entities, crossing borders and oceans, incorporating multiple languages as a routine course of business, and requiring the adherence to a variety of laws, regulations and rules from different governments and authorities.
And, just as organizations have evolved, fleet management decision-making has evolved right along with it. Fleet management has grown from being a situation where most commonly a single person – the fleet manager – was the decision maker to one where many different stakeholders may have an interest in how decisions are made. From risk to human resources to finance to the c-suite – everyone seems to want to weigh in on fleet. One stakeholder who is likely to have a particularly strong interest is – you guessed it – the sustainability manager.
Of course, sustainability is nothing new when it comes to fleet. Fleet managers have been grappling with how to run more sustainable fleets for some time now. Whether they were challenged to lower fuel costs, or faced with stricter emissions regulations, or encouraged to make a change to better align with company goals, the idea of incorporating sustainable initiatives into a larger fleet management program is a common one among fleet leadership.
What has changed is that fleet managers may no longer be working at developing sustainable strategies by themselves. Many companies looking to make sustainability an enduring enterprise-wide effort have hired sustainability managers and tasked them with implementing environmentally sound programs and initiatives. And this is a good thing for fleets.
The individual charged with leading sustainable change for an organization can be a tremendous ally for fleet managers and be a powerful and influential champion for you internally within your organization. If your organization has a sustainability manager, and you have not yet reached out to them, do so. Spend some time getting to know them – understand who they are, what is important to them, and what their goals are.
Similarly, help them understand the role that fleet plays within the organization and the steps you may have already taken to making the fleet more sustainable. It is very possible that the person asked to lead sustainability within your organization has little or no background in fleet and may not understand some of the challenges and obstacles that abound with leveraging clean technology. If that is the case, it is valuable to educate the sustainability manager on these issues so expectations are managed accordingly.
With a common understanding and a shared perspective, they might also be able to provide resources (financial, expertise, good insight and more) on how to leverage clean technologies effectively into your fleet. At the very least they can become your ally for championing best practices for finding sustainable efficiencies. And that always is an alliance worth building.
About the author:
Brian joined ARI in early 2013 as Manager – Strategic Consulting, Sustainable Strategies. Previously, he spent time working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Resource Conservation & Recovery and as an analyst for a consulting firm in Mexico City, Mexico, where he conducted environmental policy research on sustainable development initiatives for governments and multinational corporations. Brian earned both his bachelor and master degrees from Cornell University.
Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.