Ecolab Inc. has made great strides in “going green” over the past several years. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., the company provides cleaning, sanitizing, pest-elimination, food safety, and infection-prevention products and services in more than 160 countries around the globe.
Despite an increase in total vehicles and miles traveled, Ecolab has managed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve average mpg, and lower fuel consumption in its 7,000-vehicle U.S. fleet over a five-year period.
Striving for Greener Operations
Ranked No. 28 on Automotive Fleet’s 2012 Top 300 Commercial Fleets listing, Ecolab’s fleet operations are headed up by Gayle Pratt, director of global fleet. Pratt is responsible for its 7,900-plus vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, and more than 17,700 units globally. Under her leadership, Ecolab’s U.S. fleet operations was recognized as a “Sustainable Fleet” in April at the 2012 NAFA Fleet Management Association Institute & Expo in St. Louis.
The fleet’s drive to reduce GHG emissions aligns with Ecolab’s corporate goal to reduce U.S. GHG emissions per dollar of sales by 20 percent from the base year of 2006. From 2006 to 2011, Ecolab’s U.S. fleet achieved:
● A 22-percent reduction in GHG
emissions, normalized to sales.
● An 18-percent improvement in
average mpg per vehicle.
● A 12-percent absolute reduction
in GHG emissions.
● An 8-percent reduction in fuel
consumed (1.4 million gallons) while the
number of vehicles grew 1 percent and
total miles driven increased nearly 9 percent.
The company has incorporated sustainability principles into a revised fleet policy, changed vehicle models and measures, and managed the fleet sustainability program overall to meet both business and sustainability objectives.
“Our sustainability action plan included rightsizing the fleet and redefining the optimal vehicle for business requirements,” Pratt said. “We revised our fleet policies to acquire more fuel-efficient vehicles, focusing on EPA-certified SmartWay vehicles. We moved from large to intermediate to small vehicles; and from eight- to six- to four-cylinder engines whenever possible.”
Pratt led a fleet group that established a project charter and assembled a team of key individuals from 13 operational divisions, environmental health and safety, the fleet leasing supplier, and corporate communications.
In addition, fleet drivers participate in surveys, eco-driver awareness and safety training, and provide continuous feedback via a fleet Web portal. The fleet also implemented forecasting tools to determine how to optimize fleet operations to achieve both business goals and the company’s overall sustainability goals.
Ecolab has been on AF’s Top 50 Green Fleets listing since 2008, ranking in at No. 25 this year.