Lakeside Logistics achieves carbon-neutral status through Vision Green program
Lakeside Logistics, a distribution company based in Oakville, Ontario, is claiming to be the first in its industry to achieve a carbon-neutral footprint, having eliminated its environmental footprint through its in-house Vision Green program.
Lakeside is now launching the second phase of the program, with the potential of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 3,500 tonnes per year. The company, which produces approximately 320 tonnes of CO2 per year (the equivalent of 64 cars on the road) is also challenging its customers, suppliers and competitors to follow its lead and make a meaningful contribution toward dealing with climate change.
The Vision Green program takes a three-tiered approach to quantifying and reducing impact on the environment: an in-house program, already in place, the carrier program, and the customer program. Within its own operations, Lakeside began by creating the position of director of sustainability this past April, and actively sought buy-in from all company personnel.
Moreover, the program entails partnerships between Lakeside and like-minded organizations capable of helping it reach its goals. Some of the measures and initiatives contributing to the company's carbon-neutral status have included:
- conducting an environmental audit through Zerofootprint (www.zerofootprint.net);
- engaging employees in sustainability issues with a customized calculator designed by Zerofootprint;
- converting to green, carbon-free, renewable electricity from Bullfrog Power (www.bullfrogpower.com) to power its corporate headquarters in Oakville;
- investing in hybrid technology for its carrier relations vehicle;
- eliminating bottled water on site, saving 20,000 plastic bottles annually;
- instituting an idle-free zone at the loading docks to reduce carbon emissions;
- re-programming computers with Local Cooling to reduce power usage; and
- investing in carbon offsets for what cannot yet be eliminated.
The carrier segment of the Vision Green program presents a direct opportunity to target emissions at the source. Currently dealing with approximately 3,500 carriers throughout Canada and the U.S., Lakeside pledges to work directly with these carriers to help them audit their current carbon footprint.
Between June 2006 and May 2007, Lakeside's partners racked up 19 million miles in cumulative fleet mileage, producing 35,484 tonnes of CO2. The company's initial target is to reduce these emissions by 10% (3,500 tonnes) by the end of 2010. This translates into taking 700 cars or 20 Class 8 trucks off the road.
One of the main means of reaching this target will be an innovative education exchange designed to facilitate the development of viable environmental strategies and practices. By connecting with Smartway (www.epa.gov/smartway/index.htm), a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program designed to increase energy efficiency in the North American transportation system and Fleetsmart, an initiative of Natural Resources Canada (www.nrcan.gc.ca), Lakeside can demonstrate and promote tools that help to clearly define fuel efficiency and carbon footprints.
"Working with our carriers will enable us to respond to our customers' requirements around sustainable practices," said Susan Moore, Lakeside's director of sustainability. "We are not looking for a huge change overnight but rather a change in the way we do business in the long term," she added.
Through the customer component of the Vision Green program, Lakeside will work with customers to measure the carbon footprint of their supply chain. The company has put resources in place to consult with customers to help them clearly understand their supply chain footprint and how to optimize logistics to gain the maximum economic and environmental benefit.
The program has the support of the Oakville Sustainability Initiative (www.oakvillesustainabilityinitiative.com), which believes that the integration of our economy, our environment, and our governance models can foster vibrant, livable communities, strong economies, and healthy ecosystems.
More information is available from Susan Moore at Lakeside Logistics, 905/338-4026, E-mail Susan@lakesidelogistics.com.