In February of 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a partnership venture between shippers, carriers, logistics companies and the EPA which was designed to help reduce diesel emissions by reducing fuel consumption-- voluntarily rather than through regulation. This unique program was dubbed SmartWay, and it is intended to deliver financial as well as environmental benefits to participants.

Now, a new ad campaign is making its debut to help get the word out about those benefits to the widest possible audience, according to SmartWay program director, Suzanne Rudzinski. “What we are trying to do is to get the broadest possible attention for the program,” she explains. “The new ads are targeting shippers, private and for-hire carriers and logistics operations.”

Developed for the EPA by the Plowshare Group, the new ads are likely to grab attention with graphics that feature the SmartWay decal on everything from a banana on wheels to a rolling calculator. (The text for the banana ad begins, “An environmentally appealing way to transport goods that’s also deliciously profitable.”)

“To become a SmartWay partner, shippers have to ship at least fifty percent of their goods with SmartWay carriers,” says Rudzinski. “Carriers can become SmartWay partners by integrating various strategies into their operations to reduce fuel usage, such as reducing idling, specing light-weight components and so on, “ she adds, “and they don’t have to do it all at once. They can make a commitment to achieve their environmental goals over time and get partial points toward SmartWay certification as they move through the process.

“Fleets can also achieve certification in a variety of ways, by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent, for example, or by making a percentage improvement in overall emissions over a period of three years,” she adds. “Carriers have six months after joining the SmartWay program to decide what they’d like to do and submit their plan.”

To help fleets evaluate what would happen in terms of costs and emissions if they make certain changes, the EPA has developed a software decision support tool that is free to carriers when they join the program, according to Rudzinski. “The tool is designed to help fleets see which emission-reduction strategies they can afford, which are compatible with their business plan and which net what results in terms of fuel savings and cost reductions,” she explains. “Once carriers are in the program, this tool is also used for reporting results to us annually,” she notes.

A core group of charter carriers and shippers worked with the EPA to develop SmartWay, including Schneider National, FedEx, UPS, Coca-Cola and a dozen others. Today, the program includes more than 110 partners and it is growing every day, according to Rudzinski. To learn more about the SmartWay program, go to www.epa.gov/smartway.