can shippers gauge their carriers environmental management
performance and address the environmental impacts of their ocean-going
transportation? A group of more than a dozen manufacturers, retailers
and shipping companies are taking steps to answer these questions
with the launch last November of the Clean Cargo Environmental Performance
Survey (EPS). The survey was developed by members of the Business
for Responsibilitys (BSR) Clean Cargo Group, a worldwide committee
consisting of multinational corporations who have voluntarily developed
environmental guidelines for ocean transportation.
Transportation ranks alongside electricity generation and manufacturing
as one of the three most significant sources of greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions. As global trade increases, GHG emissions from ocean vessels
are also expected to rise. BSRs Clean Cargo Group participants,
who together represent approximately 33 percent of containerized
cargo carriers and 20 percent of the top 50 U.S. importers of containerized
cargo by volume, collaborated on developing the survey.
The aim of the survey is to provide shippers and carriers
with a common reporting tool to begin examining the overall environmental
impacts associated with ocean transportation, explains Michelle
Lapinski, BSR senior manager, Business and Environment. The
hope is that this survey will lead to better communication between
carriers and their customers about fuel efficiency and related environmental
improvements that can be sought over time. Its a powerful
tool in helping to identify collaborative approaches to environmental
The survey is a supply-chain management tool for manufacturers and
retailers establishing a set of environmental indicators and reporting
standards for ocean-going carriers who transport their companies
products. The survey includes a set of metrics along with practical
steps to help companies understand and measure environmental impacts.
Among its potential benefits, it is anticipated that the survey
will help ocean carriers and their customers assess options for
increased fuel efficiency, which in turn will lower emissions and
help improve air quality. Additionally, by proactively managing
the environmental impacts of product transportation and minimizing
emissions, companies gain first-mover advantages while setting up
systems to mitigate the financial impact of future regulations.
The collaboration between customers and suppliers also benefits
both parties by establishing industry-supported methodologies for
reporting and calculating environmental performance. The partnership
developed while creating the survey will enable companies to work
together to address multiple environmental impacts of shipping products,
as well as find cost-effective and mutually beneficial solutions.
HP established a supplier evaluation program for environmental
performance over 10 years, but to date has not included carriers,
due primarily to a lack of carrier-specific criteria, said
Paul Quickert, Regulatory Tracking & Compliance manager. For
ocean freight carriers, the Clean Cargo Group not only satisfied
that need by partnering with carriers to develop the criteria, it
secured the endorsement of some of the top ocean freight carriers
in the world in the process.
To learn more about or download a copy of the Environmental Performance
Survey, go to www.bsr.org/sustainabletransport.
Companies are encouraged to use the survey in their business-to-business
relationships as shippers and carriers.