UPS Becomes Charter Member of National Clean Fleets Partnership
LANDOVER, Md., Apr 01, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Speaking to a crowd of more than 300 employees and representatives of major American companies at the UPS (NYSE: UPS) facility here, President Barack Obama praised efforts to reduce the environmental impact of corporate trucking fleets, noting the potential of alternative fuel vehicles to lower the nation's dependence on oil and drive savings both from an environmental and business standpoint.
"If you're a business that needs to transport goods, I'm challenging you to replace your old fleet with a clean energy fleet that's not only good for your bottom line, but good for our economy, good for our country and good for our planet," said Obama.
Chairman and CEO Scott Davis welcomed President Obama to UPS, which with its "rolling laboratory" of nearly 2,000 alternative fuel vehicles was chosen to host the event. Pepsi-Frito Lay, Verizon and AT&T also showcased their alternative fuel fleets for the President. Those companies joined UPS and FedEx today in becoming charter members of the National Clean Fleets Partnership.
As members of the partnership, the companies - operators of more than 275,000 vehicles combined - pledged to support the Administration's energy security efforts and to develop new alternative fuel technologies in tandem with the government. The combination of private sector innovation with public sector support is seen as a way to drive efforts to lower America's dependence on foreign oil while growing the domestic economy and contributing a significant cost-savings to companies.
"Making the transition to a clean energy economy will help us ... in two very important ways," Obama added. "First, it reduces the chance that our families, our businesses and our economy will be held hostage to the whims of the oil market. Second, investments in clean energy have the potential to create an untold number of new jobs and new industries right here in the United States."
During today's event, UPS Chief Sustainability Officer Scott Wicker guided President Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on a tour of UPS vehicles, including plug-in all-electric and compressed natural gas trucks. Those technologies make up only a fraction of an alternative fuel fleet that includes hydraulic hybrid, electric hybrid, propane and liquefied natural gas for heavy trucks.
"Though many hurdles still remain and the path to success will not be easy, the sustainable business benefits of alternative fuels cannot be under-emphasized," said Davis. "We must deal with the short-term problems of cost differentials and infrastructure to prepare for our long-term future."
UPS's alternative fuel fleet recently hit a milestone of 200 million miles traveled since 2000 and for the first time, there now are alternative fuel and technology choices for virtually all forms of trucks on the ground. As Wicker noted to President Obama during their tour, there is no one-size-fits-all solution currently available for every situation. Investment in a broad spectrum of choices is vital to ensuring long-term program viability and to making real reductions in foreign petroleum consumption.
Obama's focus on private-public interaction may bode well for companies that approach energy security and sustainability campaigns as a natural part of business planning. Though technologies like liquefied natural gas can help to conquer even the most demanding conditions at a significant cost-savings, government incentives are still important to offset the initial high cost of vehicle and infrastructure investment. Economies of scale will develop over time as demand increases, making it a win-win situation for all parties involved.
On Wednesday, Obama urged Congress and members of the American business community to embrace a series of long-term energy security goals. Obama's strategy is closely aligned with many initiatives already underway at UPS and if achieved, would result in more alternative fuel vehicles on the road as well as additional fuel-efficiency standards.
From the introduction of its first electric vehicles in 1935 to the establishment of the industry's first sustainability report in 2003, UPS has consistently paved a path of innovation and growth potential in the environmental arena. The company pursues a balance of economic prosperity, social responsibility and environmental stewardship. This integrated approach guides the company as it develops strategy, sets goals, measures performance and takes action.
UPS (NYSE:UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including the transportation of packages and freight; the facilitation of international trade, and the deployment of advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the Web at UPS.com and its corporate blog can be found at blog.ups.com. To get UPS news direct, visit pressroom.ups.com/RSS.
Kara Ross, 703-362-6046