26 avr 22

How to implement Fleet Safety and Sustainability in Latin America

When it comes to operating an efficient corporate fleet, paying attention to safety is of utmost importance in Latin America while sustainability is certainly a growing trend in the region.

In terms of safety, remember that people are the greatest strengths of a company. Building a steadfast safety plan not only improves the health and well-being of your drivers but also the co-workers and family members around them.

For Philip Morris International (PMI), it has three main safety pillars for its fleet, according to Jaime Bringas who is fleet and EHS manager for the tobacco manufacturer in Mexico.

“We first build policies revolved around mitigating safety risks, then we push ongoing communication and training to maintain high safety standards, and last but not least implement technology to support our initiative, says Mr. Bringas (pictured left). 

“Besides mitigating the risk of accidents, using technology in your fleet can help cut costs by optimizing route selection and maximizing the efficient use of resources, added the executive.

This safety policy has not only resulted in zero deaths for the company, but in an extremely low accident rate (<1%).

For food and beverage giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, its policy on safety, health, and security is focused on preparing its drivers for many things, including bad weather conditions and road infrastructure, heavy traffic, fatigue, violence, and more. This is difficult to control but the company is set on preparing its crew to face these risks.

According to German Leyva (pictured right) who is EHS Manager for the company in Mexico, its road safety program includes cyclist protection training, driver evaluation with simulators, online training and exams, a driving video library which is available 24/7, and the implementation of telematics.

Our drivers must know how to identify dangerous road conditions such as precarious curvy roads, theft risk areas, and those affected by bad weather conditions. They need to know how to drive in snow, fog, heat, floods, wind, or in other words stormy conditions,” says Mr. Leyva.

When it comes to sustainability, what usually comes to mind is the environment, something that can be resolved to some extent by offering electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids, or alternative fuel options in corporate fleet operations.

For multinational pharmaceutical company Merck, approximately 9% of its total GHG emissions are associated with its fleet. As such, it is committed to its 2015-2025 goal of reducing GHG emissions by 40%, according to David Trujillo (pictured left) who is the company’s EHS Manager for the Latam region.

Currently, the company emits approximately 8,613 tons of CO2 in Latin America. “However, we have a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025,” says Mr. Trujillo, explaining that this will be achieved by increasing energy efficiency, applying sustainable building standards, and continuing to transition away from using fossil fuels. 

Another way to offset CO2 emissions is to plant trees, a practice being done by several companies in Brazil not to mention multinational pharmaceutical company Servier. After calculating fuel consumption and total CO2 emissions, what Servier does is plant a certain number of native Atlantic rainforest trees for each ton of CO2 emissions produced. 

“In 2021, we planted 8,777 trees to offset 1,220 tons of CO2 emissions,” says Felipe Pollilo Marinheiro (pictured right) who is Fleet Specialists for the company, working out of Rio de Janeiro.

To give greater freedom to our drivers from an ecological standpoint all while optimizing fleet costs, Servier is looking into clean options to offer such as electric vehicles, mobility cards, and car sharing.

“We are in the early stages, and this is mostly due to the poor recharging infrastructure in Brazil right now. The idea is to promote these ideas in the market and look for partners to help develop the national territory,” Mr. Marinheiro says.

Remember that one must look at the overall picture, meaning that sustainability is also about TCO as well as the environment, according to an internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric vehicle (EV) comparison presented by Mr. Trujillo during Fleet LatAm Conference VEx 2022.

Although fueling an internal combustion engine (ICE) costs more than five times an EV, requires four engine oil changes per year as well as a major repair after 200,000km, its initial price is considerably less, has a higher driving range of 500km or so and can be refueled in less than 5 minutes.

As for EVs, besides being cleaner for the environment, charging your vehicle will cost a fraction of a ICE. It, however, will take more than 30 minutes to recharge, has half the driving range, and requires a battery change after six years. 

In the end, it really depends on the profile of your fleet. With that said, fleet and mobility experts, do the math and figure out what is best for your company.

Mr. Trujillo, Marinheiro, Leyva, and Bringas were special guest speakers at the 5th edition of the Fleet LatAm Conference on Tuesday (26 April).

Authored by: Daniel Bland