Momentum Builds to Scale Sustainable Fuels

September 28, 2017
  • Nate Springer

    Former Manager, BSR

Fleet and goods owners today are faced with a proliferating set of fuel choices never before seen in road freight; most have neither the time nor the resources to evaluate every single one for cost, performance, and sustainability. Fuel sustainability is itself a broad term associated with various climate, air quality, worker health and safety, and even human rights risks—most of them far up the supply chain.

BSR’s Future of Fuels launched the Sustainable Fuel Buyers’ Principles in May 2017 to begin defining a unified vision for sustainable road fuels. The Principles tackle this proliferation of options by bringing together fleets and shippers of all sizes to set a common direction for sustainable fuel. By signing these Principles, companies send a strong joint message to the industry about the demand, the sustainability requirements, and the partnerships across the value chain that will be needed to scale investment in low-carbon fuels.

BSR launched the Principles with six major signatories: Amazon, HP, IKEA, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart. Less than six months later, we are delighted to more than double that number by announcing 10 new signatories: Anderson-DuBose, Armada, EARP Distribution, Golden State Foods, HAVI, Heineken, Martin Brower, McDonald’s Corporation, Mile Hi Foods, and T/C Distribution.  

Each of the seven Principles outlines concrete actions that companies can take to accelerate the development and uptake of sustainable fuels. One calls for competitiveness; another seeks measurable sustainability improvements, and another aims for more pilots and standardization. We asked several signatories to share why they decided to sign.

In response, U.S. Supply Chain Sustainability Manager at McDonald’s USA Kendra Levine observed, “The rise of fuel options with lower emissions (Principle 1) at competitive price levels (Principle 2) is key to transitioning to sustainable fuels, but as a shipper, collaboration throughout and within our supply chain is vital to achieve our sustainability goals (Principle 7); because of this, we very excited to become a signatory alongside our logistics suppliers.”

Global Lead of Logistics and Sustainability at Heineken Anne Dubost commented, “We are open to engage in partnerships with peers, carriers, and/or fuel providers to accelerate the transition to low-carbon fuels and support our ambitions to brew a better world.”

Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Executive Director, GSF Foundation at Golden State Foods Anna Lisa Lukes shared the following perspective: “To further our efforts toward the Triple Bottom Line in green freight, the second Principle of demonstrating the competitive pricing of alternative fuel to existing options is critical. We are happy and proud to signal to our original equipment manufacturers and other vendors that we are seeking solutions to help ensure a more sustainable future.”

Current Future of Fuels members, including suppliers who will be critical partners in the transition to more sustainable fuels, are eager to make progress. Vice President of New Fuels at Shell Matthew Tipper said, “Shell welcomes the opportunity to engage with partners to build the market for a more sustainable freight system, and welcomes the development of the Fuel Principles as affirmation by fuel buyers of the need for cross-sector collaboration in this effort.”

BSR is delighted to welcome these signatories, who will collectively help to accelerate the realization of a new, sustainable model for road freight fuel. To further increase momentum and make the Principles tangible, BSR’s Future of Fuels is also developing a standard approach to sharing results of sustainable technology road freight pilots. Companies will volunteer to run their own pilots and share many of the results publicly in an accessible, useable way. We hope to release the first group of studies early next year.

Like many Collaborative Initiatives, BSR’s Future of Fuels began when various actors recognized a common challenge and an opportunity for action. After starting small with a core group of committed founding members, Future of Fuels has established a working method and begun to generate tangible results.

We are delighted to see this Collaborative Initiative expand as shippers and buyers add their powerful voices to the call for sustainable fuel. The greater the number of companies making this statement, the faster the transition will take place.

If you would like to learn more about the Principles or sign on, please contact Nate Springer.

Let’s talk about how BSR can help you to transform your business and achieve your sustainability goals.

Contact Us