Guide to a Green Supply Chain in the Automotive Industry

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Sustainability is a hot topic today across most industries—including transportation. In fact, according to the EPA, the transportation industry was responsible for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. 

There are likely processes and materials used across your supply chain that create pollution and waste that negatively affect our environment. Thus, there are also ways to develop a green supply chain in the automotive industry, whether it’s at a dealership, rental car company, moving and relocation company, auction agency, fleet management company or OEM. 

Continue reading to learn why this is a worthy initiative along with simple changes that can make an impact on your automotive supply chain.

4 reasons green automotive supply chains are important

Why go green with your supply chain? We’re glad you asked…

Protects our climate

According to C2ES, one gallon of gasoline produces around 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, or CO2. When more CO2 enters the earth’s atmosphere, it acts like the glass in a greenhouse, trapping the sun’s heat, keeping the planet warmer than it would be without it. This has many negative effects on the way we live, including more severe weather, more wildfires and longer periods of drought, which leads to limited water supply and a lower yield of crops. Implementing a greener supply chain means you’re doing your part to safeguard our climate by being more efficient and lowering gas emissions. 

Reduces operating costs

Making the move toward lowering your carbon footprint also has a direct benefit to your business. The State of Sustainable Fleets report found that fleets reported lower total cost of ownership and fuel savings when using green fleet technology. Using equipment more efficiently also means it needs fewer and less frequent repairs, which can be costly.

Keeps you compliant

Because of the threat pollution and waste pose to our environment, the federal government has also made a push toward sustainable transportation solutions. The Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to regulate air emissions from both stationary and mobile sources and sets air quality standards to protect people and our environment. This has led to cleaner fuels, improved air quality across cities and new technology. You’re likely already following guidelines for your business, but taking additional measures will ensure continued compliance moving forward.

Positions you as a leader in your industry

Failure to keep up with advances in green supply chain practices in the automotive industry may cause your business to lose ground to your competitors. According to the same Sustainable Fleets report, 98% of fleets expect to enhance or maintain the use of sustainable vehicles and fuels. 

Rather than keeping up, get ahead and be at the forefront of change and innovation to attract more customers no matter which sector of the automotive industry you’re in. Auto dealers, auctions, OEMs and rental car companies all have an opportunity to enhance their standing in their unique markets. 

3 steps for greener automotive supply chain management

Now that we’ve offered you the why, it’s time to get to the how. Improving your sustainability may seem like an extensive—and expensive—project, but following these steps will make the process more manageable. 

1. Assess your current emissions 

To make a change, you must first understand your current state. Examine every touchpoint in your supply chain and identify where emissions and waste are coming from. This could include the following:

  • Electricity
  • Gasoline as fuel
  • Heat
  • Water
  • Paper products
  • Other raw materials

Keep a thorough record of these and share it with the appropriate parties within your company so everyone is involved in the change project.

2. Set goals and priorities

Go through your list one by one to identify areas you can afford to improve. Prioritize what you think can be done fastest and most easily first, moving down to the most time-consuming and costly initiative. Chances are, each item you want to change will require smaller steps and goals to achieve, so include those as well.

But rather than simply writing these down and “getting to them” when you can, include specific and realistic deadlines for accomplishing each goal. Include potential obstacles as well so you and other stakeholders in the project are prepared.

3. Implement ways to reduce emissions

You’ve got your plan; now it’s time to get to work! There are many ways you can make your business more environmentally friendly. Keep in mind that not all of these may be applicable for your specific industry and supply chain processes, but some things we suggest would be:

  • Incorporate electric vehicles for shorter routes and/or smaller loads
  • Optimize driving routes to reduce miles traveled
  • Recycle vehicle parts and other equipment once they’ve reached end of life

It’s also critical to look for areas in your supply chain to streamline and break down the silos that often develop. Every employee across the chain should have a 360-degree view of the process, knowing how their work impacts others’ and vice versa. Seeing themselves as part of the entire supply chain and not just a single function of it will build unity and help to prevent costly delays and inefficiencies.

Hand holding a globe.

New technologies have been introduced to virtually every industry that are designed to identify and improve inefficiencies. With a little research you’re sure to find a solution that will fit within your business and budget. For instance, telematics technology uses GPS and on-board diagnostics to monitor trucks, equipment and other assets. There are also predictive maintenance technologies that can help you take action to keep equipment running properly and avoid repairs.

Dealerships, rental car companies, automobile manufacturers and other businesses can also use the services of a third-party logistics company to transport vehicles to their destination. Instead of investing in their own trucks and trailers, they can leverage auto transport companies that are experts in the logistic services needed and potentially save on transit times, emissions, and costs.  

Simple approaches to a greener automotive supply chain

We realize that not all companies have the funds, resources or manpower to take on a green initiative but that doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements. These four actions are a quick and easy place to start to reduce waste within your business.

Go paperless

Change is hard, but keeping all records on paper is wasteful, inefficient and susceptible to loss or even theft. Moving to digital records keeps both internal and external documentation organized and protected, saves money on paper supplies, eliminates paperwork to file and prevents more trash from ending up in a landfill.

Consider the products and services you use

With “going green” being a widespread effort, there are endless options for more eco-friendly products to use in your workplace, like cleaning products and packaging. They don’t cost much more than regular products and can still make a difference in your impact on the environment. If you use third-party companies for transportation, cleaning or other services, find those that also use sustainable practices. 

Be proactive

Finally, being proactive with vehicle and equipment maintenance keeps them in top working condition and reduces the likelihood of a breakdown. Plus, overdue tire rotation and inflation, oil changes and engine air filter replacement can all negatively impact fuel efficiency. Routine maintenance is all it takes to lower emissions and save money.

Regular safety reviews with your staff will also help. Not only will it help to keep them safe, it will also result in fewer collisions, misuse of equipment, and as a result, fewer repairs and materials used. 

Green automotive supply chains are not a passing trend

Reducing your carbon footprint will always be in style. Taking steps to mitigate your negative impact on the environment saves you money on fuel and repairs and sheds a positive light on your business. It’s a win for you, your employees, your customers and the planet. 

The Montway advantage

Montway Auto Transport can help you identify opportunities for increased efficiencies in your vehicle movements. Even when single-unit transport is needed, Montway optimizes the move to provide the value you need and the speed you demand. We have 15 years of experience working with dealerships, auctions, rental car companies, manufacturers, fleet managers, corporate relocation companies and lenders and Learn more about Montway Auto Transport’s business solutions at or call 888-998-4161.

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