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More companies commit to zero emissions trucks


Commitment to zero emissions is gaining traction.

Corporate social responsibility is something Americans take very seriously and don't take for granted. They appreciate it not only when organizations they patronize show their commitment to it, but also their employers — or those companies they might consider working for in the future. Since so many people highly value it, organizations that demonstrate corporate social responsibility can serve an effective way to recruit and retain workers.

With this in mind, several leading logistics entities and consumer brands are showing their commitment to corporate social responsibility by planning the transition of their commercial trucks to zero emissions. While their efforts may not be done primarily for recruitment purposes, a potential fringe benefit is encouraging more people to join their organizations.

The commitment, dubbed EV100+, is led by five multinational corporations, including Unilever, JSW Steel Limited, A.P. Moller - Maersk and GeoPost/DGDgroup. In collaboration with the nonprofit organization the Climate Group, EV100+ seeks to phase out the manufacture and utilization of gas-powered vehicles in favor of automobiles that run on clean energy. All these organizations have committed to doing this themselves with their medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks by 2040 in China, India and all the OECD markets in which they operate, including the United States. The Organization for Economic Cooperation is composed of 18 countries, including Australia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, among others.

Automobiles account for 5% of global CO2 emissions
Their vow to transition their fleet of vehicles to zero emissions within the next 20 years could be a major victory for the green movement and tempering the harsh effects greenhouse gases have on the Earth. As it is, automobiles are largely responsible for carbon dioxide emissions, representing 5% of global CO2 emissions in 2019. That share is expected to increase to 11% by 2050. 

Michelle Grose, vice president of global logistics and fulfillment for Unilever, said the company is delighted to be part of the solution to the climate crisis. In a statement obtained by Supply Chain Dive, Grose said logistics accounts for 15% of the company's total carbon footprint, which also includes organizations' physical locations and the brands they own, such as Dove, Axe, Hellmann's and Lipton. Grose said the company's expectation is to achieve net-zero emissions "across its value chain" by 2039.

While zero emissions is the goal, it may not actually be fully reachable given the energy expenditure to make zero-emissions trucks. As a report from the American Transportation Research Institute found, battery and electricity production offsets some of the net zero benefits, resulting in only 30% CO2 reduction compared to a diesel powered truck.

Such initiatives, however, may be worth it from a business perspective, particularly in terms of recruitment and retention. As a separate survey from ATRI discovered, 84% of millennials and Gen Z drivers consider company culture — including community and environment focused initiatives — in deciding whether to join or remain with an employer.

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