Fleet management company Merchants Fleet issued its inaugural 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report on April 21. According to a news release, the report highlights the company's goals, strategy, and plans relevant to its business operations and stakeholders. It acknowledges the magnitude of the environmental challenges Merchants and its clients face within the fleet industry, and also outlines ambitious goals for how it is addressing all ESG issues, both now and in the future.
“Merchants provides highly customized fleet management solutions to companies spanning more than 20 diverse industries,” said Brendan P. Keegan, chief executive officer of Merchants Fleet. “ESG is foundational to who we are as a company, how we operate as a team and the way we approach our products and services. We don’t view it as a separate effort, rather it is embedded in our daily efforts. Given our connection to the movement of people, goods and services, we strongly believe that our commitment to ESG and this report are vital factors that will ensure this free flow of resources accelerates in a responsible manner.”
Highlights from the report and 2022 commitments include:
- Fleet Electrification: In 2021, Merchants committed $2.5 billion to electric vehicles (EVs), and client EV fleets drove over 5.2 million miles, thereby preventing an estimated 1,400 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Looking ahead, Merchants plans to electrify 50% of its mobility portfolio by 2025 and electrify 50% of its fleet portfolio by 2030.
- People Engagement: Merchants employees spent 8,300 hours utilizing professional development programs and courses offered by the company. In 2021, 89% of survey respondents responded that Merchants is a “great place to work.” In 2022, Merchants will launch a “Diversity in Fleet” initiative, designed to help level the playing field in the fleet industry and expand efforts to build and attract a diverse candidate pool.
- Supplier DEI & Sustainability: Merchants plans to leverage new technology that will provide better insights into critical suppliers and partners. In addition, Merchants aims to add more diversity to its critical vendor list to include women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ-owned, and disability-owned businesses, as well as survey critical vendors about their sustainability practices.
- Environmental Metrics: Plans also include to enhance how Merchants measures and reports its impact on the planet, while helping clients do the same. The company is actively building technology to measure and report on greenhouse gas emissions from its leased vehicles.
Ted Lague, recently hired as director of ESG at Merchants, spearheaded the inaugural report as a way to reinforce the company's robust commitment to ESG. “The impact of integrating ESG with corporate strategy extends far beyond the inherent environmental, social, and corporate benefits,” said Lague. “The world is rapidly changing, causing tremendous shifts in client, investor, and employee sentiment. The opportunity to do good while simultaneously doing well, is great, and I’m thrilled to help Merchants lead the way in ESG.”
Merchants purchased 2,200 metrics tons of carbon offsets in 2021 certified through the American Carbon Registry, made on behalf of all of the guests who attended Merchants’ 2021 Fleet Summit, effectively covering their estimated greenhouse gas emissions for an entire year. The carbon credits came from a project through The Nature Conservancy at Vermont’s Burnt Mountain.