green initiativesIn many ways, the transportation industry is the backbone of the entire economy. Not only does it make up 6% of all economic activity, but it also allows other industries and enterprises to function — from mom-and-pop corner stores to massive energy companies.

As we move deeper into the 21st century, more customers (and government regulators) want to invest in transportation services and parcel carriers that focus on green initiatives. And while naysayers might tell you that green initiatives and certifications are a passing fad, they ultimately benefit shippers and customers.

So if you’re on the fence about getting that third party certification or spending time on green initiatives like reducing your carbon footprint, here are the top three reasons green initiatives are worth your time (and money):

1. Going Green, Saving Green Often The Same Thing
Researchers from Texas AandM University found that in 2011, traffic jams wasted 2.9 billion gallons of gasoline while also costing the U.S. economy $121 billion. No matter what you think about environmental issues or climate change, there’s no doubt that better fuel efficiency can help save money. Currently, the transportation industry is enjoying a prolonged period of low fuel prices, but experts agree the reprieve won’t last forever.

That means that in the long run, investing in green initiatives like alternative energy and more fuel-efficient vehicles will lead to lower parcel costs and shipping costs. Plus, environmentally friendly shipping materials often help in controlling transportation costs. For instance, bubble wrap isn’t just recyclable, it’s also 70% cheaper than Styrofoam alternatives.

2. Third Party Certifications Promote Corporate Social Responsibility
Again, no matter how you feel about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there’s a reason companies like FedEx, UPS, Swift, DHL, Walgreens, and more have taken the time to join the EPA’s “SmartWay” program. Certifications like SmartWay demonstrate to customers (and government regulators) that your business takes corporate social responsibility seriously. In the same way that joining trade groups can improve your brand, taking the time to qualify for third party certifications will contribute to promoting a consumer friendly, transparent brand for the 21st century.
3. Get Ahead Of The Curve
There’s no way to tell which way the political winds will blow in 2016 and beyond, but if the European Union is any indication of where the U.S. is heading, then ultimately parcel carriers, truckload shipping companies, and any business or service providing transportation will be required to offset their carbon footprint or emissions in some way. As of 2011, energy experts estimated that the transportation industry produced 28% of all carbon emissions, meaning the transportation industry will also be expected to do the heavy lifting in reducing emissions with green initiatives in the years to come.

We can’t predict the future, but we feel confident saying that more environmental regulations are on their way. Investing in green initiatives now will ensure you stay ahead of the curve, giving you a competitive edge over companies scrambling to comply with red tape at the last minute.

At the very least, green initiatives are worth a second look. In addition to indirect benefits like a stronger brand, many green initiatives will help save you money as well.