Transportation Logistics Initiatives Drive Down Emissions

An Ecolab associate charges a Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

Through innovation and a continuous commitment to reduce our environmental impact, Ecolab is on the road to achieving net-zero emissions globally by 2050. A key contribution to these efforts is optimization of supply chain transportation, distribution and logistics activities.

In 2023, Ecolab’s Supply Chain team’s actions impacted over 13 million miles driven – more than double the 5.2 million miles saved in 2022 – and over 16,190 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided.

“Our team continues to innovate and optimize our network to take miles off the road and avoid greenhouse gas emissions by manufacturing and storing our products closer to the customer, continuing our commitment to fuel-efficient intermodal transport and adopting new technologies and programs,” said Ryan Hanson, Ecolab senior vice president, North America Supply Chain.

While the majority of 2023 reductions were in Scope 3 emissions, as most Ecolab deliveries are handled by external third parties, significant savings have been realized in Scope 1 emissions through the Nalco Water fleet of delivery vehicles. Operational emissions will be further reduced as Ecolab converts its sales and service fleet to electric vehicles through a partnership with Ford Pro™.

Here are highlights of recent Supply Chain initiatives and impact reductions:

  • 9,700,000 miles saved and 12,200 metric tons of CO2e avoided by converting to intermodal freight transport via rail from over-the-road trucking wherever possible. Since 2017, intermodal transportation mileage has increased by 230%.
  • 853,000 miles saved and 450 metric tons of CO2e avoided through carrier innovations that optimize engine, battery and HVAC system performance to enhance fuel efficiency.
  • 714,000 miles saved and 1,060 metric tons of CO2e avoided by moving product manufacturing closer to the customer. This includes an aggressive program to insource manufacturing of bulk raw materials rather than outsourcing to contract manufacturers. In addition, a warehouse in Canada was reopened to better service customers in Newfoundland and we began shipping to customers in the Northeastern U.S. from our plant in Canada.
  • 360,000 miles saved and 560 metric tons of CO2e avoided through a reverse logistics program that reduced the distance dish machines were sent for refurbishing.
  • 308,000 miles saved and 480 metric tons of CO2e avoided through enhanced inventory management and warehouse optimization to enable more direct shipping to customers.
  • 262,000 miles saved and 410 metric tons of CO2e avoided through a new policy to reduce expedited order requests. Minimizing the number of rush orders has led to larger standard orders and fewer customer deliveries.
  • 53,000 miles saved and 80 metric tons of CO2e avoided by reducing expired product waste and loss.
  • 33,000 miles saved and 50 metric tons of CO2e avoided by shipping several different product lines by rail transport, a more sustainable form of transportation than Nalco Water fleet deliveries.

Fleet Electrification Will Lead to Greater Savings

Ecolab is also accelerating its effort to convert its North American sales and service fleet from internal combustion engine to fully electric vehicles through a partnership with Ford Pro™. Ecolab is beginning in California and culminating with a fully electric light-duty California fleet by 2025. Following success in California, Ecolab will move to electrify the rest of North America by 2030.

The California EV initiative will lead to a nearly 80% use phase reduction in greenhouse emissions for our light-duty fleet in California. In addition, the market-based renewable sourcing agreements that Ecolab secured in North America in 2018 makes the transition to EVs in California 100% renewable in the use phase.

“We’re proud of the success we had in 2023 and look forward to building on it even more in the years to come,” Ryan said. “I am also proud of our team and the work they’ve done to deliver a positive impact while continuing to exceed customer expectations through exceptional products and solutions.”

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