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Convoy survey finds sustainability motivations shifting

Both carriers and shippers feeling environmental pressures

As a mission-driven company aiming to transport the world with endless capacity and zero waste, sustainability is embedded in every individual’s role at Convoy.

Kiana van Waes, corporate sustainability analyst at Convoy, acts as an internal consultant on sustainability initiatives in order to reduce carbon emissions in the company’s operations and shipper supply chains. Van Waes is also responsible for Convoy’s corporate sustainability reporting and semiannual surveys which capture insights from carriers and shippers.

“In September, we spoke directly to our carriers to understand their perspectives on topics ranging from government regulations to the barriers that drivers face when it comes to incorporating sustainability practices into their day-to-day businesses,” van Waes said. “We get incredible engagement in these surveys.”

In September 2022, nearly 600 mid- and small-sized trucking companies participated in the survey, according to van Waes, ranging from dispatchers and drivers to owner-operators.

It’s no surprise there has been a lot of pressure mounting on shippers to set some aggressive science-based targets and net-zero goals. Because of this, many shippers have been looking to partner across their entire supply chain to reduce carbon emissions. 

According to the September survey results, this mindset is evident on the carrier side, a relatively new finding. 

“One key finding of the report was the carriers’ personal motivations,” van Waes said. “Carriers reported awareness of the environmental impact of carbon emissions as a top reason for reducing carbon emissions. This is different from March’s survey, where governmental regulations were the top reason for reducing carbon emissions, likely stemming from the proposal of the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] climate disclosure rule at the time.” 

In order to help achieve these new sustainability outcomes, many carriers have heavily considered the fuel economy when purchasing new trucks and equipment. Convoy’s surveys show that 82% of carriers listed that as a top concern, van Waes said.

Electric and hydrogen trucks are an important part of decarbonizing the trucking industry. However, despite many carriers seeking to employ alternative fuel trucks and overall infrastructure initiatives, there are still many challenges that need to be overcome before widespread adoption occurs. 

Moving into 2023, van Waes believes sustainability trends will continue to increase, especially as more sustainability regulations are added.