The sustainability manager – a role of increasing importance
Around the turn of the 21st century, a new management position emerged to help corporations and municipalities evolve to the economic and real-world environmental challenges they were facing. This role was the Sustainability Manager or Chief Sustainability Officer.
Over the following years, the number of organizations with Sustainability Managers has rocketed. These organizations are looking to reduce the impact of their operations on both the environment and society, while at the same time to secure their financial viability. The Sustainability Manager’s role is to monitor their operational impacts, improve performance, and communicate the results of these efforts with internal and external stakeholders.
The Sustainability Manager will be tasked with building a business case for making changes that improve the company’s bottom line, while also protecting or enhancing the company’s reputation. From a fleet management perspective, this means that they will be seeking to reduce fleet operating costs, energy consumption, and emissions of GHGs and air contaminating particles.
For municipalities and businesses with large fleets of vehicles, the fleet can represent the second largest cost center after personnel. In these organizations, it will invariably account for their greatest environmental impact, from its large carbon footprint to creating emissions of greenhouse gases and airborne particles, and other potentially contaminating pollutants such as diesel, engine oils, and oil-contaminated waste materials. As such, it is a vital area for the Sustainability Manager to focus their attention on.
Sustainability Managers, having identified the areas where improvements can be made, must then look for innovative solutions to help them meet their targets. Within fleet management, many are looking to electric vehicles as a natural step to take to reduce their environmental and social impacts, while improving their bottom line.