April 8, 2021 1:15 PM, EDT

C.H. Robinson Unveils Sustainability Tool, EPA Collaboration

C.H. RobinsonThe Emissions IQ tool. (C.H. Robinson)

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C.H. Robinson has unveiled a tool and data model designed to help the transportation sector monitor and manage carbon emissions that was developed by the company’s technology incubator in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The company said the goal of the effort that led to Emissions IQ  was to create a standardized way to measure emissions for partial truckloads.

“You can only change what you can measure,” Angie Freeman, chief sustainability officer at C.H. Robinson, said in a statement. “Even companies committed to sustainability have struggled to capture their emissions across complex, multifaceted supply chains. By putting useful technology and data at their fingertips, we’re not only increasing the transparency of emissions in our industry, but we’re surfacing the best strategies for customers to make meaningful carbon reductions right now.”

Emissions IQ automatically calculates emissions to provide users a visualization of their carbon output, C.H. Robinson said. During the pilot phase, the company said the program helped 125 companies reduce carbon emissions by 350,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents, about as much carbon as would be released by 39 million gallons of gasoline.


Freeman (C.H. Robinson)

“C.H. Robinson’s advanced technology and thorough analysis highlighted opportunities to improve the efficiency of our supply chain, and their team provided the expertise to help us act on those insights,” Scott Vollet, executive vice president of global operations at Tempur Sealy International, said in a statement provided to Transport Topics. “By making our supply chain more efficient, we reduced domestic carbon emissions by nearly 1,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents and saved over $150,000 in just three months. We’re on track to quadruple that this year.”

C.H. Robinson initially funded a project with the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics to help companies address emissions of less-than-truckload shipments. That formed the basis for collaboration with the EPA SmartWay program to establish a method for measuring those emissions. The model accounts for extra miles and higher fuel consumption of trucks making multiple pickups and deliveries. The EPA is now incorporating the data model into its online tools so any company can use it.


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“Partial truckload shipments have been growing for the past decade,” Cheryl Bynum, national program manager at EPA SmartWay, told TT. “Supply chains are more spread out, just-in-time inventory has become the norm and consumers are ordering more items more often online. So it’s critical to understand the true extent of these emissions and their growing impact on the environment. Adding that capability to our partner resources is an important step forward for environmentally conscious shippers.”

“We’ve helped companies improve how they transport their goods for decades — constantly looking to reduce waste and improve performance in the supply chain,” Freeman said. “A more efficient supply chain is, by nature, a more sustainable one.”

C.H. Robinson found during a recent customer research study that sustainability is shippers’ second-biggest pain point in 2021.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies in North America.

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