Small, focused fleet proves that being green is an attitude

Last summer, when looking for a potential fleet for one of our Green Fleet of the Month profiles, I came across a San Francisco-based organic produce company called Veritable Vegetable (VV). What I initially read about the fleet did not come as any great surprise, nor did it immediately strike me as the “ideal” fleet for a Green Fleet of the Month profile.

(For those who do not read Fleet Owner in print, our monthly Green Fleet profile focuses on the actions/strategies one fleet is employing to be more environmentally friendly, reduce waste and energy, and save on fuel - and if you have a suggestion for a fleet, please feel free to email me at bstraight@fleetowner.com – we’re always looking for good candidates.)

Veritable was purchasing four Kenworth hybrid trucks. OK, I said to myself, many fleets are using hybrid trucks, what makes this fleet so special? Well, it turns out that hybrid trucks are just the beginning of what VV does.

(Photo gallery: Veritable Vegetable)

To say Veritable Vegetable leaves no stone unturned in its environmental responsibility quest would be minimizing what this fleet does. Whether it’s hybrid trucks and refrigeration units, or trailer skirts and wheel covers. Whether it’s automatic transmissions, reusable pallet wrap or pallets, and even solar panels on the roof of a distribution center, if it’s on the market and might make a difference in its environmental footprint, Veritable Vegetable has probably researched it.

But what makes this company so special is its size. This is not a 2,000-truck operation, but rather a 24-truck outfit. It’s proof positive that size does not matter.

“We put our financial resources towards these kinds of things,” Chris Adams, the company’s transportation manager, told me. “We’re not a public company, we don’t have to answer to shareholders. We want to return the highest price we can to the grower” and the best way to do that is to operate efficiently.”

In fact, CEO Mary Jane Evans said the truck fleet is an integral part of the company’s success. “We are embracing the truck fleet and trying to educate people on how important it is in moving the food,” said Evans.

For all that it’s accomplished, Veritable Vegetable was named the Fleet Owner Green Fleet of the Year, a yearly award presented by the editors of Fleet Owner and sponsored by WIX Filters.

If you want to learn more about Veritable Vegetable and its achievements, click here.

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