Every day, Lowe’s transportation providers move hundreds of thousands of products to distribution centers and stores. Finding ways to transport those products efficiently and responsibly is critical to Lowe’s commitment to improve the communities it serves.
For more than a decade, Lowe’s has worked with transportation and environmental partners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel use while promoting responsible transportation practices. The company has continued to grow those efforts. In addition to introducing newer-model vehicles and expanding the use of cleaner-burning natural gas-powered trucks, Lowe’s has made a concerted effort to move more products by train and ship, which are more fuel-efficient than over-the-road transportation.
Along with being more economical, sustainable transportation practices like these help reduce air pollutant emissions and counter climate change, contributing to a healthier environment. These emissions reductions benefit communities near ports, borders and truck stops the most, protecting the health and well-being of the people in these communities. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized these efforts by honoring Lowe’s with a 2016 SmartWay® Excellence Award, the EPA’s highest recognition for environmental leadership in the freight transportation industry.
Lowe’s was one of only seven shippers to receive this distinction this year, representing the best environmental performers of SmartWay’s 3,500 partners. Lowe’s is the only retail shipping partner ever to receive eight SmartWay awards.
“Earning this honor from the EPA is a great reminder that we’re making a difference with the work we do every day across our company,” said Rick Gabrielson, Lowe’s vice president of transportation. “The award reinforces our commitment to continue to drive for improvements that will benefit our communities and, ultimately, our customers.”
Since 2004, SmartWay partners have helped counter climate change and keep Americans healthy by collectively:
• Saving $24.9 billion in fuel costs
• Eliminating 170.3 million barrels of oil—the equivalent of eliminating annual energy use in more than six million homes
• Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 72.8 million metric tons
• Reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 1,458,000 tons
• Reducing particulate matter (PM) emissions by 59,000 tons
Lowe’s has partnered with the EPA’s SmartWay program since 2005 to reduce transportation-related emissions by creating incentives for its transportation providers to improve fuel efficiency. The SmartWay program has helped Lowe’s carriers generate fuel savings of more than 180 million gallons and carbon-dioxide savings of more than 2 million tons, the equivalent of removing more than 420,000 cars from America’s roads.
The transition to natural gas-powered fleets was a natural step for Lowe’s because of the environmental benefits of natural gas. Natural gas-powered trucks run cleaner and quieter than those powered by traditional diesel fuel. Since launching its first dedicated fleet in Texas in 2013, Lowe’s has introduced natural gas trucks at distribution centers in seven more states. Nearly 40 percent of the dedicated fleet trucks in Lowe’s network are now powered by natural gas.
Over the past several years, Lowe’s also has converted much of its over-the-road shipping to intermodal, a mix of truck, rail and cargo ships. Today, all of Lowe’s transcontinental shipments that can be moved using intermodal shipping are moved this way. Lowe’s uses intermodal shipping for hauls as short as 500 miles and has chosen to maintain its commitment to intermodal transportation even in the current environment of low diesel prices.
“As a company committed to helping people love where they live, we see it as our responsibility to promote sustainable practices in the transportation industry,” Gabrielson said. “We hope our efforts will help build momentum for others to adopt more efficient and responsible transportation strategies.”