Measuring Sustainability & Success

In April, the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) is unveiling their Sustainability Fleet Standard Program at the NAFA 2015 Institute & Expo.

Phil Russo - President of NAFAPhil Russo, NAFA’s CEO, discussed this program in an exclusive interview with Fleet Management Weekly.  In this interview, Russo stressed, “NAFA has a tremendous opportunity to…positively impact the future of this plant through our Sustainable Fleet Standard Program….by teaching fleets how to be sustainable. And by measuring those results.”

Measuring results is a crucial step for two reasons:

  1. It defines a successful completion of your goal.
  2. It provides a process to assess whether you’re on track to or have met your goal.

If you can’t define success, you’ll never know if you achieve it. Your measurement stick is called a metric.

It’s important to define your metric by covering 3 key pieces of data:

Goal + Quantifiable Change + Time Period/Location

  • Goal: What you want to change
  • Quantifiable Change: How much you want to change
  • Time Period/Location: When and/or where you will change
    (This 3rd component won’t be applicable to every metric.)

Let’s say that you want to reduce carbon emissions. The carbon emission level is what you want to change. The problem is that many companies stop there. What if you reduce carbon emissions by 2% in 50 years? Have you reduced emissions? Yes. Have you positively impacted the future of this planet? Probably not fast enough.

Therefore, you also need to indicate how much you want to reduce emissions and by when you want to reduce them.

CALSTART has some very well defined metrics. They are advocating for a reduction in GHG emissions (WHAT) by 80%+ (HOW MUCH) by 2050 (WHEN). We will know by 2050 if we have achieved success.

But one metric alone won’t cover your sustainability plan. You will need to create at least one metric for every goal in your plan. Usually you will create multiple metrics for the goal. For example, you might create interim goals on the way to the final goal. California has defined interim goals. California has a target to reduce GHG emissions (WHAT) to 1990 levels (HOW MUCH) by 2020 (WHEN).

But one metric alone won’t cover your sustainability plan. You will need to create at least one metric for every goal in your plan.

Also, CALSTART has emphasized that “there is no ‘Silver Bullet.’ No single technical or fuel solution exists today to cover every vehicle, fleet, or location. You will need to create a number of metrics to design a well-rounded plan.

For example, part of your plan could focus on fuel-efficient technologies. You might increase your hybrid fleet (WHAT) by 5 assets (HOW MUCH) every year for the next ten years (WHEN). And you might increase your mix of fuels (WHAT) by 10% (HOW MUCH) every year (WHEN).

Metrics are extremely important for every aspect of your company, not just sustainability. It allows you to measure the effectiveness of your Procurement process, telematics data collection, and even your customer experience. You should measure every one of your goals. If not, you’ll never know when your company is succeeding or failing to achieve business objectives.

As originally appeared in Fleet Management Weekly