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Joined efforts for environmental management of road freight transport
Tuula Pohjola and Adeline Ries, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland
Because road freight transport constitutes a major source of greenhouse gases and is a growing user of energy, it is vital that its environmental performance is properly managed.

SMEs lack the resources to implement environmental management practices efficiently. As, individually, they contribute only a small share of the impact of their industry as a whole, transport SMEs are not as exposed to stakeholders as some bigger organisations. Their awareness of their responsibility is low relative to their actual environmental impact.

Therefore, it is appropriate to gather the elements required for environmental management from other actors. The combined efforts and skills of several organisations lead to the development of a sector-specific online tool for environmental management and training of transport SMEs.

The environmental management and modelling skills from the Helsinki University of Technology and the Technical Research Centre of Finland were combined with expert advice on the road transport sector from the Finnish Trucking Association. The Portuguese Energy Agency and a Hungarian environmental consultant (Geonardo) helped to adapt the tool to various European national conditions, and the IT company Bitblit then translated all this into a user-friendly online tool. Finally, users were directly involved in the development process so that the tool would meet their needs and reach its goals: to raise the environmental awareness of transport SMEs and enable low-cost environmental management. In the future, the tool will be used for benchmarking and will enable the sharing of good business practice.

This project is an example of the collaboration of several organisations to enable an important industry sector to face its responsibilities while investing fewer resources. The organisations met the challenge of environmental management collectively and together developed an instrument that can be used by all.

 
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