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Lakeside Logistics

  • Mar, 12 2010
  • Industry Sector:Transportation


To create and launch a comprehensive green program that would ultimately make a difference in the transportation industry in Canada and lower the carbon footprint of all of our stakeholders (staff, customers and carriers).  Motivated by a powerful presentation by Dr. Ron Dembo of Zerofootprint about global warming and carbon management in 2007, Jeff Moore, managing director Lakeside, vowed to be the first 3PL to put a program in place that would be impactful while at the same time differentiate Lakeside from the Canadian competition.


In May 2007 we created the position of Director of Sustainability, who designed a three part program to address the unique needs of our staff, our carrier partners and our customers.

The first six months focused exclusively on staff. We formulated a Green Team, drawing voluntary participation from each department within the company. We conducted a carbon audit of our operation and then set out to decrease the footprint through a number of initiatives. We offset our remaining carbon footprint and in November 2007 became a carbon neutral company. We formed a strategic partnership with Zerofootprint, to help us conduct the audit and purchase the offsets. The ongoing challenge for the Green Team is to continue to find ways to decrease the footprint and keep employees engaged in the program. Overall, the Green Team continues to be successful in lowering our carbon footprint, from an initial 320 tonnes per year to 169 tonnes, a decrease of 48% over two years.

The carrier program includes over 4000 carriers in our data base. The challenge was how to reach out to these carriers effectively and engage interest in Vision Green. In September 2007 we joined the EPA Smartway Partnership, which is comprised of shippers, carriers and 3PL/logistics companies that have committed to lowering emissions over a three year period. In 2007, 10% of our miles were hauled by Smartway carriers. We targeted our top 50 carriers and met with each of them to demonstrate the benefits of joining Smartway.  Today, 40% of our carrier miles are hauled by Smartway carriers and that number continues to grow.  The biggest roadblock we had was getting carriers to dedicate the resources to the Smartway application during an economic crisis. To incent the carriers, we put together a Preferred Carrier Program whereby if service and rates are the same, the Smartway Carrier will get the load.

The customer program focuses on carbon metrics and network optimization. Our Executive Dashboard provides customized key performance indicators, including carbon metrics based on Smartway technology. The carbon data is currently based on averages in the industry. Recognizing the need for more granular carbon numbers, Smartway has developed 2.0, a technology upgrade that will provide shippers with more accurate carbon numbers for their shipments.

Most of our customers are subsidiaries of US multinational companies.  The parent companies have made commitments to decrease emissions but for the most part the mandate for the Canadian companies has been unclear, presenting a challenge for Lakeside. We have continued to develop our customer program, predicting that the day will come when this data will be mandatory. This has paid off in the case of one of our major customers whose US parent company became a Smartway shipper in late 2009.  For the past three years we have been building our Smartway carrier base for this customer from a low of 5% of miles to the current 60%.  Being proactive has allowed us to meet their needs of shipping at least 50% of their loads with Smartway carriers.


Vision Green has met our original goal of being an impactful program and differentiating us from the competition.  As an early adopter, we have developed a respected program over three years.  The program has garnered a tremendous amount of media attention and the 2009 Import Export Canada CATIE award for Greening the Supply Chain. More importantly, we have secured business over the past two years whereby Vision Green was the tipping point in the decision.

Our next goal is to demonstrate a decrease in total emissions, both corporately and by customer, utilizing the Smartway 2.0 technology which will be in place by the end of 2010.


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