A consensus for change

Climate Summit of the Americas

By Patrick Nangle, President and CEO

On July 8 and 9, at the invitation of Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, I had the opportunity to speak as a panellist at the Climate Summit of the Americas. Scheduled to take place on the eve of the Toronto Pan Am Games, the Summit attracted hundreds of delegates from subnational jurisdictions across the Americas, such as Canadian provinces and U.S. states. Most people today accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity. The projected consequences of more than a 2°C increase in average temperature are extremely negative, and include more severe weather events, rising sea levels and challenges to our food and water supplies. We are already seeing examples of what could lie ahead every day in the news. The Summit was focused on what we can do about climate change, and tempered with a strong sense of optimism with the view that there is no time to lose.
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One over-arching theme was the need for an effective approach to carbon pricing. That is, attributing to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a value that reflects their environmental impact – and putting in place a system that encourages reductions. We see that already practised today in Quebec and British Columbia, as well as in many U.S. states and other countries around the world. Ontario has just announced its intent to launch a cap and trade scheme, partnering with Quebec and California. At the Summit, it sounded as though Mexico was thinking of joining, and we heard about great initiatives in the states of Washington, Vermont and Colorado.

So what does this mean for Purolator? Thus far, that has translated as additional cents per litre for the fuel we use to create an incentive to reduce consumption. We have already taken several initiatives to green our fleet, including operating 560 hybrid electric (HEV) courier vehicles. Most of our corporate cars will be HEV or fully electric by the end of this year. The linehaul tractors we buy today for highway use are low-emissions diesels, and all new trailers come equipped with side fairings designed to improve aerodynamics and reduce fuel consumption.

In addition to the investments we have made in more fuel-efficient vehicles, the introduction of telematics technology into our fleet in 2014 has led to a significant reduction in idle time and its attendant fuel consumption. In the air, the change made earlier this year to a co-share model, including the use of more fuel-efficient airplanes, is producing a sharp decrease in GHG emissions related to our air cargo. Initiatives to move volume from air to ground and from truck to rail whenever possible also contribute to important reductions in emissions.

We have made some progress and intend to do more. Today, Purolator is actively engaged with various groups to trial new vehicle technologies and fuel alternatives. This year we will put on the street three new vehicles from three different sources, to provide feedback on their effectiveness in our environment. Effectiveness will be viewed from both a technical and economic perspective. In addition, our work on route optimization should lead to a reduction in kilometres per stop and, thereby, GHG emissions per delivery. The outcome of our route optimization pilot in Laval, Que., gives us reason to be optimistic.
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So, be assured that Purolator is taking seriously what could be the single most important issue of our time. We understand that one does not have to choose to be pro-business or pro-environment. One can be both, and we are.

This is not only an issue for businesses and governments to address. Each of us as individuals and with our families can make an effort to reduce our own carbon footprint. Turn down the heat or air conditioning at home, take public transit when you can, minimize the use of your car, use energy-efficient lighting and so on. There are many possibilities, and they will all help. I’d be happy to hear about ways you conserve energy at home and any ideas you have about what else we could do at Purolator.

2 Responses to A consensus for change
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