WASHINGTON - After working with a number of companies on environmental issues and talking to dozens more, PHH and Environmental Defense have identified some best practices that can help companies find cost effective ways to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their fleets and still meet the business needs of their fleet drivers, according to www.greenbiz.com.

1. What gets measured gets managed.

PHH recommends that companies measure all of the GHG emissions from their fleet using actual fuel use data. Vehicle use, maintenance, and driving behavior can all have a significant impact on a vehicle’s fuel economy. By looking at actual fuel data, a company has precise information on how their vehicles are performing compared to the EPA estimates of vehicle fuel efficiency. Once a company has established its fleet baseline, it can then set a goal to reduce the environmental impact of the fleet.

2. Focus on the outcome, not the technology.

When considering what goal to set for the fleet, it’s important to keep in mind the outcome — real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. PHH suggests that companies set a greenhouse gas reduction goal, not a goal around a specific technology. This gives the company the flexibility to look at all technologies available to determine how best to meet that goal. For some companies, using a mix of technologies depending on the needs of different segments of the fleet is the best way to maximize reductions. In addition, if a company sets a GHG goal instead of a technology goal, they will be able to measure the impact of anti-idling campaigns, more efficient routing, or better vehicle maintenance. And by setting a GHG goal, companies can report on fleet emissions as part of their overall GHG reporting.

3. Look for cost-effective ways to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

Companies should start by looking for the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions. Initiatives that have both business and environmental benefits will have more staying power and will continue even if a company’s interest in environmental issues wanes.

4. Reduce what you can, offset what you can’t.

PHH also found that companies that are considered leaders in addressing environmental issues use offsets, but only after they have made reductions within their business. Companies should look to make the most cost-effective reductions they can, and then, using some of the savings generated, offset the remaining emissions of their fleet.