- Eleven major companies joined the newly-formed Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, led by Ceres, an organization that advocates for business sustainability, according to a press release issued Wednesday. The firms are Amazon, AT&T, Clif Bar, Consumers Energy, DHL, Direct Energy, Genentech, Ikea North America, LeasePlan, Lime, and Siemens.
- The alliance's goal is to combat climate change by hastening a multi-industry transition to electric vehicles (EVs). It hopes to achieve this by helping firms set and meet their fleet electrification targets, advocating for policy changes and "expanding the business case for the production of a more diverse array of electric vehicle models," the release said.
- "With companies controlling more than half the vehicles on the road in the U.S. today, they have a tremendous role to play in leading the transition to electric vehicles — both in terms of electrifying their own fleets and in leveraging their buying power to send a strong market signal to automakers and policymakers alike," Ceres’ VP of Climate and Energy Sue Reid said in a statement.
The transportation industry is the highest-emitting sector in the U.S. accounting for 29.8% of national emissions in 2017, the most recent year data is available, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By contrast, in 2010, transportation counted for 14% of total emissions.
The EPA cites urban sprawl, periods of low fuel prices and growing consumer demand for travel (increasing the number of average miles driven per person) among the factors contributing to steady emissions growth since 1990.
In addition, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released a report in January which found the growing demand for last-mile delivery will increase emissions from delivery vehicles by more than 30% in the top 100 cities globally within the next 10 years. One of the recommendations from the EPA and WEF is switching to electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Commercial fleets have long relied on heavier gas or diesel-powered industrial vehicles, namely vans and trucks, as fully-electric alternatives have only begun to enter the mainstream in recent years. As firms, driven in part by pressure from environmentally-conscious consumers, have started to assess and tackle carbon emissions within their supply chains, some have announced plans to switch their fleets over to electric vehicles within the next five to 10 years.
Amazon announced last September it would purchase 100,000 electric delivery vehicles and integrate them into its fleet by 2030, as part of a comprehensive climate plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2040. The company estimated the switch to EVs alone would reduce its carbon emissions by 4 million metric tons over 10 years.
DHL, which has been piloting EVs for last-mile deliveries in Europe for the past few years, recently announced plans to begin expanding the initiative in the U.S.
"As part of our commitment to achieve net zero emissions from transport activities by 2050 globally, we have set the ambitious interim target of performing 70% of first- and last-mile operations with green vehicles by 2025. Electric vehicles will play an important role in reaching that target," Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Americas, said in a statement.
In addition to committing to use electric vehicles for all home-deliveries by 2025, Ikea is also partnering with Optoro to optimize its reverse logistics processes and reduce waste and emissions in that sector of its supply chain.
Beyond improving the environmental impact of global supply chain operations, the major benefits of EVs include "freedom from reliance on volatile oil and gas prices, improved driver safety, enhanced company reputation, and bolstered workforce recruitment and retention," according to Ceres.