Company: C.H. Robinson
Technology Snapshot: C.H. Robinson is paving the way for more sustainable supply chains around the world by turning decades of logistics expertise into technology and data that any company can use to reduce its carbon footprint. It recently announced:
- Emissions IQ, which will be the first free, self-serve tool for customers to instantly show a company’s carbon emissions across all forms of transportation globally
- A collaboration with MIT and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that gives companies a standardized way to measure the emissions of their partial truckloads for the first time
- Access to unparalleled data for companies to benchmark their carbon output against their industry and other shippers
In its pilot phase, Emissions IQ has already helped 125 companies reduce their carbon emissions by a total of 350,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents. How much is that? As much carbon as 39 million gallons of gasoline would emit.
“You can only change what you can measure,” said C.H. Robinson’s Chief Human Resources and E.S.G. Officer Angie Freeman. “Even companies committed to sustainability have struggled to capture their emissions across complex, multi-faceted 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.”
Grappling with U.N. sustainability goals, regulatory requirements and consumer demand, companies have never been under more pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains. A recent C.H. Robinson customer research study revealed that sustainability is shippers’ second biggest pain point in 2021, and the number of companies planning to take action to reduce their carbon footprint has doubled since last year.
But to cut transportation emissions, companies first need to be able to measure them. Most aren’t equipped to do that easily across truck, rail, air and ocean transportation. For smaller shipments that share a truck with other companies’ goods, a standard for measuring hasn’t even existed. Without the necessary tools and data, many companies haven’t been able to pursue carbon reduction at all or are investing a lot of time and effort that could be automated and eliminated.
Emissions IQ, the latest innovation from C.H. Robinson’s tech incubator Robinson Labs, is a tool that automatically calculates emissions and provides an easy visualization of a shipper’s carbon output. Emissions analysis across all transportation modes is available from C.H. Robinson now, and all modes will be available within the self-serve tool once ocean and air are added later this year. Accredited to use the Global Logistics Emissions Counsel (GLEC) framework, Emissions IQ gives shippers data that’s trusted and universally accepted.
Tempur Sealy, a business in designing, manufacturing and distributing bedding products, is already benefitting from C.H. Robinson’s sustainability tools.
“One of the most challenging aspects of our commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 is quantifying the emissions of our logistics operations and implementing strategies to reduce them,” said Scott Vollet, Tempur Sealy EVP of global operations. “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. 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.”
To help companies address the emissions of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments—which have skyrocketed because of the e-commerce boom—C.H. Robinson funded a project with MIT’s Center for Transportation & Logistics. That became the basis for a collaboration with EPA’s SmartWay program to establish a method specific to measuring those emissions. Accounting for the extra miles and higher fuel consumption of a truck making multiple pickups and deliveries, C.H. Robinson is sharing this advanced data model with the EPA to incorporate into its online tools. Companies will be able to instantly get a calculation of their LTL emissions.
While eliminating the time and effort of calculating emissions, C.H. Robinson is also giving companies a way to benchmark against others and track their progress over time. With a worldwide network of nearly 200,000 customers and carriers, C.H. Robinson offers the largest set of emissions benchmarking data in the industry. This information advantage, combined with C.H. Robinson’s expert global sustainability consultants, gives any company the building blocks for creating more sustainable supply chains.
“We’ve helped companies improve how they transport their goods for decades—constantly looking to reduce waste and improve performance in the supply chain,” said Freeman. “A more efficient supply chain is by nature a more sustainable one. As one of the world’s largest logistics platforms and the largest mover of truckload freight in the world, we’re in a position to create real impact on emissions now and in the future for our customers, our industry and our planet.”