Case Studies

Browse proven green business case studies from Canada by industry sector.

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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.



Canadian Springs – Hybrid Electric Truck Case Study

  • Mar, 10 2010
  • Industry Sector:Transportation


To lower emissions from delivery trucks.

1. Canadian Springs is Canada’s leading provider of direct delivery 18L bottled water and plumbed in filtration systems for homes and offices nationally. The company wishes to emphasize that it fully supports the highest grade of public tap water infrastructure with free and easy access for all, it simply sees a necessity and desire for an alternative drinking water supply for many reasons. Our drinking water products are valued by our customers for areas where tap water is not easily accessible and also as a cleaner alternative to tap water because tap water contains unwanted chemicals such as chlorine and its bi-products, lead, copper, rust, VOCs and many others.

2. Each Canadian Springs large format returnable refillable bottle is used an average of 55 times and carries 1,000L of water in its lifetime before the bottle and its cap are recycled by the company into other useful products. Complete life cycle analysis of 18L water bottles reveals that they have a surprisingly low carbon footprint approximately equal to that of plumbed in tap water filtration systems for equal volumes of water used (this includes all energy inputs of bottle manufacturing, filling, delivering and returning bottles, washing, refilling and recycling for the life of the bottle). Both 18L bottles and tap water filtration systems have a total carbon footprint approximately five times that of tap water, depending on the region of the country. This is in stark contrast to single use bottled water which has a carbon footprint from 30 to 150 times (or more) than that of tap water. A recent independent Oregon Department of Environment study roughly confirms these numbers.

3. Downtown Vancouver trucks delivering Canadian Springs 18L bottles or tap water filters only travel an average of 15,000 km per year, but do 15,000 deliveries per year of an average of 5 bottles or 3 filters per delivery.

4. Having said this, 83% of all company emissions are due to its trucking activities. Addressing truck emissions would therefore have the greatest impact in achieving the company’s goal of becoming the cleanest beverage company in the world. Using large format returnable refillable bottles and supplying filtration systems are already relatively low impact ways of supplying clean drinking water, but addressing truck emissions would further lower that impact.

5. Canadian Springs employs the three Rs in everything it does: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We want customers to carry a sport bottle with spring or filtered water rather than purchasing single use bottled water. Get in the mindset of using refillables for all your beverages while you’re at it.


Hybrid electric Class 7 trucks.

1. All fuel efficient and exhaust after treatment products were considered as possible candidates for reducing truck emissions. Some options appeared to have better potential than others, but all options were limited to those that can be applied to the duty cycle and type of truck Canadian Springs uses; Class 7 beverage body delivery trucks in urban environments. For all-around benefit and ease of use, it was settled that the newly available hybrid electric trucks for Class 7s was the best option.

2. After joining the Vancouver based Electric Vehicles Buyers Group in 2008, the company learned of other fleets that wanted to get greener trucks but needed help in doing so. As opposed to the USA, there is no standard Canadian program in place for fleets to access grants or subsidies for purchasing lower emission vehicles.

3. With the help of the Fraser Basin Council, a total of eight fleets made a collective one time application for funding to help purchase the hybrids because they are significantly more expensive (the incremental cost is 50% more than a standard vehicle). The applications were successful and the Fraser Basin Council got funding for 50% of the incremental cost of the hybrid platform from the BC Ministry of Environment. Thank you Fraser Basin Council.


Understanding route duty cycles is key to maximizing savings.

1. After testing the new hybrids on various routes, it soon became apparent that fuel savings (and therefore emissions) are dependent on route terrain and duty cycles.

2. Results show maximum savings with urban stop and start routes. Some routes have generated up to 45% fuel reductions compared to the same route using regular trucks. Other routes with fewer stops and more highway travel generate fuel savings of only 5%. All routes do generate fuel savings using hybrids.

3. Payback: with seven year full maintenance leases the payback for using hybrids is unclear for all routes but is becoming increasingly clear for high density urban routes. Average fuel savings of approximately 30-40% on the high density routes will cover the increased cost of purchasing the hybrids. These trucks will both save the company money and reduce fuel use and emissions significantly.

For high density routes fuel savings are expected to average 37%
Emissions reductions for these routes: hydrocarbons 60%, carbon monoxide 50%, and nitrogen oxide 40%

Other emission reduction programs Canadian Springs has employed:

1. Reduced idling

Average downtown trucks had 30%-40% idle time, now it is less than 5%.

2. Reduced speed

Reducing speed from 120km/hr to 80km/hr saves 20% in fuel use.

3. Tire pressure and engine maintenance

Proper tire pressure and engine maintenance reduce fuel use by another 10%

Driver training is the key to success!



Bison – Fuel Management

  • Mar, 05 2010
  • Industry Sector:Transportation


With 1050 tractors and 3000 trailers on the road, Bison Transport is one of the largest truckload carriers in Canada today. Bison is extremely mindful of the environmental impacts it makes and believes its corporate responsibility is to do its part for the environment.

Freight operations inevitably put a strain on the environment with carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide being released into the air with every mile traveled. Carbon dioxide is the most common Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) and nitrogen oxide is an air pollutant that contributes to smog. Bison consistently looks for innovative ways to reduce its impact on the atmosphere with a desire to deliver environmentally conscious transportation solutions.

Not only is it important to Bison to reduce fuel emissions, Bison is determined to provide a healthy workplace for its employees to work and thrive.

Today our customers have also come to expect green practices and ask us what steps we have taken to reduce our impact, and promote sustainability.


Bison’s Sustainable Transportation Strategy includes developing a comprehensive Fuel Management Program. Our program includes making smarter, greener purchases, training drivers in fuel efficiency, and reducing idling and fuel use throughout our entire fleet. It is important to Bison that “we do what is right” in our everyday practices.

In addition to creating a Sustainable Transportation Strategy, Bison also established an Eco-Wellness committee to ensure that environmental and wellness considerations were part of our business plans and decision making processes.

To fulfill Bison’s goal of increased fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, Bison instilled a number of practices, including:

Outlining requirements for new tractor and trailer purchases. Our equipment uses low rolling resistance tires lowering fuel consumption by 1.5-4.5%, lightweight trailer skirting reducing wind resistance and GHG by 4-7%, fuel efficient transmissions and engines, trailer gap fairings, aerodynamic truck profile, in-cab computers that provide real-time data on fuel economy and driving habits, and governing our fleet wide speed at 62 mph.
Bison partnered with Feric, a division of FP Innovations, on their Energotest/Project involving conducting a series of fuel consumption and equipment tests in a contained environment (test track).
The Government of Canada also awarded Bison a grant of $500,000 towards a large scale, fleet-wide demonstration of the effectiveness of aerodynamic trailer fairings.
Expanding our Intermodal division, instituting strict anti-idling policies, and increasing the number of Long Combination Vehicles (LCV’s) – tractors pulling two 53’ trailers – in order to cut carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.
Equipping both new and existing trucks with auxiliary power units (APUs) that help keep idle time to a minimum. Bison set a target of less than 5% idle time for all tractors with an APU, since drivers can use them to power heaters and air conditioners in all weather conditions. Tractor engines consume over 4 litres per hour when idling as opposed to an APU which consumes only 0.8 litres per hour.
Requiring every driver to take our skills development program, called Tatonka, including a fuel economy course. We use state-of-the-art simulation technology (Mark III full motion simulator) and computer based training to ensure our Drivers are the most fuel efficient Drivers on the road.
In our offices we incorporated a recycling program into our daily routines, as well as a compost bin in our lunchrooms. We also encourage our employees to strive for a paper-free environment as much as possible, and have incorporated paperless billing with our customers and suppliers.

Bison Transport is an active member of Natural Resources Canada’s FleetSmart program and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership. Both programs have goals and mandates that are closely aligned with Bison Transport’s. By joining both FleetSmart and SmartWay Transport Partnership, Bison Transport demonstrates its strong environmental leadership and corporate responsibility.

Bison – Fuel Management</h3>


With Bison putting all these practices into play, Bison’s green initiatives have made a significant difference in our environmental impact.

At Bison we have learned that our Long Combination Vehicles (LCVs) offer one of the most environmentally conscious means of moving freight. In fact, utilizing LCVs reduces the amount of fuel consumed by 482 litres and the amount of GHGs emitted into the atmosphere by 1311 kilograms for every 1000 miles traveled.

With a strategic focus on efficiency and sustainability, Bison leads the industry in the use of Long Combination Vehicles (LCV’s). Also called Turnpike Doubles, Bison’s LCV Division has grown significantly in Western Canada where they have become the transportation mode of choice for shippers moving freight in/through the Prairie Provinces. Savings in fuel and driver wages are two of the biggest advantages of the LCV model. We consider our LCVs the Greenest Truck on the Road.

Bison Transport recently unveiled a GHG calculator on its web-site that estimates total carbon emissions of single trailer and LCV transport operations for a given length of haul. The calculator is located at

Bison’s Long Combination Vehicles (LCVs) combine technology, efficiency and reduce GHG emissions by 40%.

Bison is winning awards for its green initiatives:

* Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Efficiency Award – won for our cutting-edge fuel management skills development program.
* U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport’s Environmental Excellence Award

Through our LCV Division, aerodynamic equipment, idle reduction technologies, recycling programs, efficient routing practices and equipment, Bison provides environmentally conscious freight transportation services. We have invested large amounts of time and energy to become an industry leader when it comes to reducing our overall impact onto the environment we live and work in.

Bison – Fuel Management</h3>



OOCL – Fuel Reduction

  • Feb, 08 2010
  • Industry Sector:Transportation


The driving force behind our initiative is the recognition that as a responsible corporate citizen we needed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from all OOCL owned vessels. The main stakeholders are our customers, employees, and vendors throughout the supply chain.


In 2001, we voluntarily began a fuel saving program, which is the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially C02. Actions and initiatives taken include the following:

− Weather routing systems to provide shorter routes safely

− Regular maintenance helps to keep the vessel clean and maximize its efficiency and fuel burn

− Optimum trim (balance of cargo) and minimum ballast water, helping to minimize fuel consumption

− We conducted a case study of the OOCL China which managed to sail with zero ballast and we endeavour to achieve this or minimal ballast

− Slow steaming to minimize fuel consumption: By changing a 5-ship to a 6-ship loop in the Transpacific trade or a 9-ship to a 10-ship deployment in the Asia Europe trade:




These results prove our successful initiative to reduce fuel consumption. The business case is also that reduced fuel consumption means cost savings for the company.

This action drove innovation in terms of strategy and technologies on board our vessels.

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