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Is Sustainability Really a Problem with Matt McLelland

The Logistics of Logistics Podcast

Release Date: 11/12/2021

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  • Is Sustainability Really a Problem with Matt McLelland

    Matt McLelland and Joe Lynch discuss is sustainability really a problem. Matt is the VP of Sustainability and Innovation at Covenant Transport Services, a premium service provider of transportation services with focus on temperature controlled products, regional, and long haul delivery.

    About Matt McLelland

    For the first 15 years of his professional career Matt focused on information technology -  working for a large silicon valley software companies to data center startups to a brief stint with a family foundation who, unlike his previous employers, existed to give all their money away.  In early 2000 he entered the world of logistics - mostly implementing large software systems but due to his professional curiosity consistently asked to look at innovations in trucking and warehousing.  In mid-2015 his employer opened one of the first industry "Innovation Labs" - a loosely structured group with the single purpose to research and test early-stage supply chain innovations.  From inventory counting drones, robotic automation, human exo-skeletons, and virtual reality applications - these were just a few of the many solutions they regularly explored. In early 2018 Matt tried to leave the logistics industry and start building outdoor adventure vans (that's another story) but was given a unique opportunity to join Covenant Logistics - a premium service provider of transportation and warehousing services.  In his role as VP of Sustainability and Innovation he works directly with senior leadership to research future trends in the logistics industry and evaluate their applicability to Covenant's strategy of providing more affordable, safer, cleaner delivery of product.  Lately he's been spending most of his time looking at Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental / Social Governance (ESG) as many supply chain companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprints using everything from alternative fuels like Battery Electric and Hydrogen to autonomous vehicles to optimization software. When not at work, Matt spends most of his time outdoors and travelling with his family in their DIY converted 2017 Sprinter Van, fondly christened "Chad The Van" by his teenage son.  Chadthevan regularly transports both the family and outdoor gear to their frequent outdoor activities - you can follow their adventures on Instagram at @chadthevan

    About Covenant

    Covenant Logistics provides transportation and logistics services in the United States. It operates through four segments: Expedited, Dedicated, Managed Freight, and Warehousing. The Expedited segment primarily provides truckload services to customers with high service freight and delivery standards. The Dedicated segment provides customers with committed truckload capacity over contracted periods using equipment either owned or leased by the company. The Managed Freight segment offers brokerage services, including logistics capacity by outsourcing the carriage of customers' freight to third parties; and transport management services, such as logistics services on a contractual basis to customers who prefer to outsource their logistics needs. The Warehousing segment provides day-to-day warehouse management services to customers. The segment also provides shuttle and switching services to shuttling containers and trailers. The company also engages in used equipment sales and leasing business. It serves transportation companies, such as parcel freight forwarders, less-than-truckload carriers, and third-party logistics providers; and traditional truckload customers, including manufacturers, retailers, and food and beverage shippers. Covenant Logistics was founded in 1986 and is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    Key Takeaways: Is Sustainability Really a Problem

    • Matt McLelland is the VP of Sustainability and Innovation at Covenant Transport Services, a premium service provider of transportation services with focus on temperature controlled products, regional, and long haul delivery.
    • In the podcast interview, Matt and Joe discuss whether sustainability is really a problem – or just a lot of hype and corporate posturing.
    • Matt makes a very convincing argument that sustainability is a very real concern for transportation and logistics providers because 1.) Shippers (customers) increasingly expect or even require their logistics partners to provide services with less environment impact. 2.) State and federal regulators are focusing their efforts on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the trucking business is responsible for approximately 5% of those emissions.
    • The Boston Consulting Group published a report that suggests 80% of GHG emissions are a result of supply chains – so manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and their logistics partners will come under pressure to reduce their environmental impact, especially GHG emissions.
    • Matt noted that there are some ways to reduce GHG emissions that are relatively easy (low hanging fruit) and other ways that require larger investments and a bigger commitment from both the logistics companies and their customers.
    • The low hanging fruit opportunities include retiring old trucks with newer fuel efficient trucks, carbon capture systems like Remora and making trucks more aerodynamic with aftermarket systems like Truck Wings.
    • For companies that want to greatly reduce GHG emissions, investments in new technologies like electric, hydrogen, and compressed natural gas trucks may be necessary. These technologies are available, however they are all have limitations.
    • There are lots of ways transportation and l Carbon Capture for Semi-Trucks with Paul Grossogistics companies can get started on sustainability including: reducing empty miles, more efficient routing, maximizing trailer space, joining SmartWay, adding a sustainability KPI to standard reporting., etc.

    Learn More About Is Sustainability Really a Problem

    Matt McLelland LinkedIn

    Matt McLelland Instagram

    Covenant Corporate Social Responsibility

    Carbon Capture for Semi-Trucks with Paul Gross

    Why Your Truck Needs Wings with Dan Burrows

    CSR vs. ESG – the 101

    The EPA and GHG

    What is Scope 1,2,3

    The USA’s electricity mix

    The Logistics of Logistics Podcast