Is there room to be 'green' in the current economy?

By Jack Lee
February 27, 2009
RETAIL : MANAGEMENT

The upheaval in the financial markets has created a pile of new pressures for business owners and managers. Hot buttons include managing cash flow and operating costs while holding onto people and business volume. Amid this re-ordering of priorities, is anyone still thinking about the commitment to become more environmentally conscious? Or has that been swept under the table as an unnecessary frill?

As we re-organize our priorities, I suggest we look at our financial challenges and promises to the environment as a joint, key initiative. The two are connected.

For most companies, fuel is the largest operating expense and the biggest contributor to pollution. Every day our cars, trucks and equipment spew hundreds of tons of pollutants into the atmosphere. How can we cut fuel consumption without destroying productivity? The answer: think greener and become more responsible consumers. We must eliminate waste. When we eliminate wasted fuel, we cut toxic emissions and lower fuel costs.

How to eliminate wasted fuel
Most people think it costs money to become more environmentally friendly; that is not true. You spend less money when you use less fuel. Becoming more efficient with your fuel consumption pays dividends to your company and the environment rather than adding cost.

Following are a few options to consider to reduce fuel consumption:
- Stop driving to card locks or automated fueling stations. Use an onsite re-fueller. When you have fuel delivered, you eliminate wasted time and fuel.

- Measure and manage fuel consumption. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. With the right information, you can calculate which piece of equipment is guilty of over-consumption and make the necessary changes. See Page 40 of the February 2009 issue of Glass Magazine for suggestions on how to manage fuel consumption.

- Train your drivers  to be more fuel conscious. Bad driving habits waste fuel.

- Cut pollution and switch to biofuels wherever necessary. You can do this without any engine modifications.

Once you have made a decision to cut wasted fuel and pollute less, you have become a smarter company and made huge strides toward becoming a leader in changing business attitudes. A smart company attracts more attention and a better caliber of clients. Add this to your list of standard company benefits, and improve your corporate profile and market position.

Even if you decide to use only one of the tips above to help reduce your company’s fuel consumption, you will make a huge impact on the environment. Consider this: For every 1 gallon of fuel you burn, you generate 19.6 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center of the U.S. Department of Energy.

If you decide to have your fleet re-fuelled onsite instead of driving to a card lock, you eliminate at least 20 minutes of driving time to and from the card lock. That’s 20 minutes your engines are not running; 20 minutes you are not consuming fuel; and 20 minutes you are not paying in nonproductive labor costs. How many times a week could you put cash back into your bottom line and cut emissions? It adds up to thousands of dollars each month during a time when cash flow is critical.
 

The author is president and CEO of 4Refuel Inc., Langley, B.C. Write him at askthefuelexpert@4refuel.com.