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How the big orange is turning green: Schneider’s 40+ year commitment to sustainability

Schneider, a premier provider of transportation and logistics services, has been going green since 1978 — reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving fuel efficiency and changing global operational policies to reduce its carbon footprint. Today we are one of the most energy-efficient fleets on the road.

What started as an effort to ensure the company’s position as a low-cost provider of transportation and logistics services has evolved into a full-fledged commitment to reduce our environmental footprint.

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Highlights of Schneider’s longstanding commitment to sustainability include:

  • Schneider began focusing on energy efficiency in 1978 when the company pioneered offering drivers incentives for idle reduction and fuel management. The program evolved in 1985 when Schneider built in performance metrics for drivers based on their ability to run energy efficiently. The practice of a “bonus” payout for achieving fuel management goals still exists today for Schneider drivers.
    • In 2019, Schneider paid nearly $16 million in driver incentives for fuel management, safety and other efforts
  • Schneider engineers work with OEMs to specify equipment to run as efficiently as current technology allows – a practice that dates back to 1978.
    • Tractor design alone saves more than 27.8 million gallons of fuel and reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2.2 million tons each year
  • Schneider has employed a full-time, on-site team of engineers dedicated to equipment performance and efficiency since 1989. The company is one of only a handful in the industry to have a team of such experts in-house.
  • In 2003, all company trucks were outfitted with no-idle heaters to reduce winter idling, making Schneider the first major truckload carrier to specify that feature in trucks. Most new tractors added to the fleet for solo drivers now also come standard with battery-powered APUs. Year-round, Schneider idles its tractors less than half the industry standard and is committed to reducing emissions even further as technology becomes available.
  • In 2004, Schneider became a charter member of the SmartWay® Transport Partnership, a voluntary collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency and the freight industry. Schneider was the first truckload carrier to join the program.
  • Schneider’s Logistics division received accreditation as a SmartWay® Transport Partner in 2008 for its responsible environmental management of its network third-party transportation carriers and for its commitment to improving their environmental performance.
  • Schneider’s Bulk division has been a Responsible Care partner since 1995. Responsible Care is the chemical industry’s global voluntary initiative to continuously improve health, safety and environmental performance.
  • Schneider’s Intermodal division is, on average, two times more energy-efficient than over-the-road transport. Schneider works with the most energy-efficient rail providers.
    • The company has 23,000 stackable containers, which enable additional freight conversion and further reduce carbon consumption.
    • Schneider implemented an owned chassis program, which enables heavier weight capacity so that fewer loads are required to haul the same amount of freight.
  • Schneider has received the SmartWay® Excellence Award for leadership in energy conservation and emission reduction practices 10 times since the award’s inception in 2006 (the EPA provided no Award recognition in 2010 or 2011). Reserved for the top 2 percent of SmartWay’s 3,000+ members, it is the EPA’s highest recognition for organizations that significantly reduce the environmental impacts of the freight sector. There are only three other SmartWay Partners that have been recognized as many times as Schneider.
  • Schneider’s Supply Chain Management service has over 1,100 SmartWay carriers in its network and continues to increase its use of SmartWay partners.
  • According to the company’s 2018-2019 SmartWay report card, Schneider reduced emissions of CO2 by 8%, NOx by 7% and particulate matter by 4% in that time period.
  • Schneider’s driver training program instills in drivers the importance of fuel efficiency, the impact of their behaviors on the environment and the company’s overall operations. Today’s drivers are trained on state-of-the-art simulators that are designed to recognize good driving habits and include driving tips for improvement in areas such as fuel efficiency.
  • Schneider began testing natural gas trucks in 2011.
  • Many carriers test products, but no one evaluates new technology like Schneider. The truckload carrier’s close working relationships with engine manufacturers provide access to new and emerging technologies for testing and implementation well before others in the industry. The company’s annual testing program has been in existence since 1989 and generates indispensable insights. Every year, an engineer and two drivers are dedicated solely to helping Schneider improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by testing engines and tires and validating other emerging energy-efficient technologies in the program. (Between 20-50 tests are conducted each year.) Schneider experts share their learnings with manufacturers in a joint effort to improve the technology the industry adopts.
  • In 2013, Schneider began implementing new tracking technology for trailers and containers to reduce empty miles and save fuel.
  • Between 2018-2019, new truck purchases allowed Schneider to reduce fuel consumption by 9.6 million gallons.
  • In 2015, the company began to integrate trucks with automated manual transmissions and terrain-mapping predictive technologies into its fleet.
  • Schneider participates in industry thought leadership and advocacy as a member of shipper sustainability councils and a participant in the University of Wisconsin’s alternate fuels research project. It is also an active participant in the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), an organization dedicated to doubling the efficiency of the North American goods movement. Schneider participates in NACFE’s annual fleet study, which identifies best practices for fuel efficiency and encourages industry adoption.
  • Through investments, operational improvements and driver behavior, Schneider has improved fuel efficiency by 16.9 percent since 2008.
  • Schneider also recycles 12,000 batteries per year, retreads 109,616 tire casings per year and recycles 181,000 gallons of oil per year.
  • The company has trailer skirting installed on 100 percent of its Van Truckload fleet to increase fuel efficiency.
  • Schneider uses alternative fuels wisely, consuming more than 8.5 million gallons of blended biodiesel each year.
  • Schneider invests millions of dollars annually (an increasing amount each year) on diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), a reagent that helps clean the exhaust.
  • All Schneider facilities are models of energy efficiency.
    • Corporate recycling program
    • Dust control methods put fewer chemicals in its yards
    • Sourcing of environmentally friendly products
    • Green team in place to identify energy improvements including site-specific goals for energy efficiency
    • Energy audits at all facilities
    • High-intensity discharge lighting with energy-saving bulbs; LED and T8 fluorescent lighting in all facilities
    • Upgrade of data center A/C reduced energy consumption 25% at corporate office
    • Relamping of sites generated a 12.5% reduction in energy
    • Economizer systems for all HVAC equipment
    • Energy efficient pumps and motors
    • Window shades in the office to reduce heat gain
    • High efficiency hot water heaters
    • Large wall mounted exhaust for heat dissipation in all warehouses
    • Built in capacity for future electric tractor charging
  • Recent Schneider awards:
    • SmartWay Award of Excellence (Presented by EPA)
    • Green Supply Chain Enabler (Presented by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine)
    • CaseStack Green Carrier Award
    • Green Fleet of the Year (Presented by FleetOwner magazine)
    • CSX Environmental Award
    • Green Supply Chain Partner (Presented by Inbound Logistics magazine)
    • Top Green Providers (Presented by Food Logistics magazine)
    • Eco-Enterprise Award (Presented by Oracle)