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Convoy, FourKites tackle emissions with new strategies, insights

Sustainability dashboards, emissions reduction tracking part of new offerings to reduce shippers’ environmental footprint

When Land O’Lakes sources food, it looks for farmers that share its same vision for sustainability.

“Within the food system, sustainability can take many forms – from farming methods that aim to reduce impact on the environment, to reducing food waste, to reusing or recycling materials used along the food chain,” the company declares on its website.

Land O’Lakes operates a division, Land O’Lakes Sustain, that is dedicated to helping farmers, agricultural retailers and food companies develop sustainable practices throughout the food system.

So, it should come as no surprise that the food giant also looks for ways to improve the sustainability of its logistics system. To do that, Land O’Lakes, a longtime FourKites customer, is leveraging the technology provider’s new Sustainability Dashboard.

“FourKites new Sustainability Dashboard is an important new addition to our supply chain visibility toolkit,” Dustin Braun, senior director of logistics at Land O’Lakes, said. “Implementing sustainable practices is one of Land O’Lakes top priorities. By leveraging the Sustainability Dashboard, we are able to assess and validate our sustainability efforts on an ongoing basis. Combined with other FourKites visibility tools such as Lane Connect and Network Visibility, we are gaining fantastic insight into our supply chain.”

FourKites announced the launch of the dashboard along with a Sustainability Center of Excellence (SCoE) on Earth Day to help highlight the importance of sustainability within the supply chain.

Convoy has also launched an Earth Day-themed calculator with its Carbon Emissions Savings Counter.

FourKites emissions dashboard
FourKites new Sustainability Dashboard provides shippers with insights on the environmental impact of their shipments. (Photo: FourKites)

“The supply chain is a huge contributor to environmental pollution, waste and inefficiency, but companies now have an opportunity to change that,” Mathew Elenjickal, FourKites CEO, said in a statement. “Our new Sustainability Dashboard – fueled by real-time logistics data from the FourKites platform – is a powerful solution that will help our network achieve their sustainability objectives while simultaneously reducing operating costs and gaining additional business efficiencies.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 50% of nitrogen oxide emissions, over 30% of volatile organic compound emissions, and more than 20% of particulate matter emissions come from freight transportation. Projections indicate that the growth in air emissions from freight will exceed the growth in emissions from all other transportation activities – including passenger transportation – by 2025. McKinsey estimates that 90% of companies’ impacts on the environment come from supply chains.

Susie Bodnar, director of operations and client strategy for FourKites, told FreightWaves the efforts are in line with the company’s philosophy of reducing waste, and actually came not from the top down, but germinated from the employee level.

“We believe that anyone can be a champion of business initiatives,” she said. “Our company by design and by guiding principle believes in eliminating waste.”

Lane Connect, which matches backhaul opportunities for customers, is an example of this. Land O’Lakes was a pilot customer for Lane Connect. The system paired the shipper with a wholesaler on an Ohio to Tennessee lane, Bodnar explained, that resulted in a transportation cost reduction of between 20% and 25% for Land O’Lakes and a reduction of 1,000 empty miles per week for the wholesaler.

FourKites’ Sustainability Dashboard and SCoE are the newest tools in the effort to help companies identify areas where they can lessen their environmental footprint. The dashboard provides users with insight into their estimated greenhouse gas emissions from freight activity; emissions by mode (rail, ocean, truck) on both an aggregate level and a per-shipment level; how emission levels and patterns are changing over time; and which lanes have the highest and lowest emissions.

Bodnar said that the dashboard provides everything from a 50,000-foot view all the way down to lane-level views.

“You look at a high level view at how much emissions you generate over time, or by mode, but really the moment of truth is at the… lane level where you can take action,” she said.

The SCoE will offer an ongoing series of webinars, best practices content and collaboration opportunities for the community, as well as opportunities for members to beta test and collaborate on future products, FourKites said. More than 20 individuals and companies have already signed up to participate, including Alexis Bateman, director at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics; Michael Torrance, chief sustainability officer at BMO Financial Group; Braun from Land O’Lakes; Philipp Kolb, international supply chain sustainability, at Henkel; Meghan Stasz, vice president, packaging & sustainability at the Consumer Brands Association; and Rob Haddock, group director of planning & logistics at The Coca-Cola Company.  

The goal, Bodnar noted, is to bring together leading experts and thought leaders to discuss ways to increase efficiency and sustainability.

“It’s a braintrust that will support this sustainability initiative going forward,” Bodnar said. “They will share ideas… and give us advice [on product development]. What we announced today is not an end game, it’s a beginning.”

More information on the SCoE is available at this blog post

Convoy tallies emissions savings

In an April 22 blog posting, Convoy announced the launch of its Carbon Emissions Savings Counter. Launched one year to the date following the launch of Automated Reloads, the savings counter measures the cumulative pounds of carbon emissions saved by fleets that use Automated Reloads.

Automated Reloads books allows drivers to book multiple loads or shipments at once to create a single trip, reducing empty miles. The system algorithmically evaluates and continuously optimizes how loads can be grouped in real time. Drivers can then bid on the pre-planned combinations as a single job.

“To date, we have enabled over 1,700,208 pounds of carbon emissions from being emitted, which is equivalent to eliminating 87,621 gallons of gasoline consumed,” Convoy said in the blog posting.

Convoy cited a survey that found 20% of consumers said they only buy sustainable products. As a result, shippers are increasingly prioritizing the reduction of carbon emissions.

When Convoy sends monthly reports to its shipping partners, those reports include a section on sustainability.

“Data-backed insights, paired with a business’ institutional knowledge, are what affect meaningful efficiency gains across the shipment lifecycle,” Convoy said. “Transportation leaders use these reports to make responsible shipping decisions that further reduce their emissions across their entire network.”


  1. James Bauman dba Kirplopus

    When Convoy claims to save fuel with “bundled” loads (where a second load is picked up relatively close to the first load’s destination)….. does Convoy count the miles between first load and second load in its fuel savings? I’ve seen Convoy’s bundled loads. It is not uncommon to have, say 70 miles between end of first segment to beginning of second segment (second load). When I book single loads on DAT; I too can keep my deadhead down to 70 miles. So I don’t see this bundling as saving deadhead miles vs traditional load board. As “environmentally friendly” is a sales pitch; where’s the verification?

    1. James Bauman dba Kirplopus

      I ordered (back in 2015) a 6X2 Cascadia; and I drive slow; and have side skirts, low rolling resistance tires, etc; so I average 8.9mpg. The US averages is still around 6.5mpg. I’d like to see logistics companies pay MORE to carriers like me who prioritize fuel savings; even when fuel is cheap right now (cheap fuel doesn’t meant CO2 is any less harmful). I’d say way too many small carriers are clueless, or don’t care, about fuel savings. Somehow; brokers need to reward for it. Then, there is a double incentive; a reward from brokers/ their customers such as Land O Lakes above; AND the money already saved due to less fuel consumption. Perhaps an extra penny per mile AFTER negotiated freight spot rate for every mpg over 6.5. So I’d get an extra 2cpm. Fuel milage is EZ to verify via truck ECM and IFTA reports; since IFTA requires miles and gallons reported quarterly. Someone like Convoy or JBHunt could easily give tips as to how to obtain high fuel milage; or even get discounts for its partners on new equipment that is spec’d for fuel milage savings. With todays 2020 technology; it should be possible to average 10 mpg unless mountainous trips with heavy loads all the time. This is a 50% reduction in fuel vs standard small carriers’ trucks; and worth doing.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]