Build Capacity and Create a Management Infrastructure

Green freight programs can be hosted by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, industry partnerships, and combinations of these parties. All stakeholders should have a role to play, but which role and at what level of involvement will depend highly on the local conditions and structure of the freight industry.

Programs hosted by government agencies may be closely coordinated with government regulatory programs and will be structured to address broad societal goals, such as improving air quality, addressing climate change, or spurring economic development. Government agencies may use public recognition as an incentive to attract industry participation.

Like government-hosted programs, those hosted by nonprofit organizations may also organize around broad socially beneficial goals. But nonprofit organizations may adopt goals that are more ambitious than government agency goals, or less—depending on the constituents that the nonprofit organization represents. Long-term, secure funding for programs overseen by nonprofit organizations is often elusive.

Programs hosted by industry partnerships will have freight sector needs at their core. They may represent the industry with a single voice, have easy access to real world data and case studies, and advocate for financing, technologies, and policies that favor its freight industry constituencies.

Regardless of your approach, be sure to identify a single party to serve as the program host. Make sure the host is ready to assume the full responsibility for managing the program and making all final decisions—committees and coalitions do not make effective hosts because responsibilities are often shared and diffuse.

Some programs have chosen to involve key players from the very earliest program design stages onward as partners—where they contribute and share in many program elements in exchange for benefits and a deeper level of involvement. The U.S. EPA’s Smartway Transport Partnership has pioneered this approach with successful results.

Once a host organization is selected, identify the staff you will need, paying special attention to defining specific roles and responsibilities for each member of your team. Create an organizational chart that reflects your program’s goals but is realistic (and does not exceed your human and financial resources). Consider including the following elements:

  • Program Lead/Manager. Responsible for the overall development of the program and provide team leadership. All staff will report to this person.
  • Recruiting. Brings new companies and organizations into the program as members, affiliates, allies, etc.
  • Stakeholder Engagement. Establishes strategic partnerships with stakeholders including nongovernmental organizations, state and federal agencies, and research institutes to promote and continually improve the program.
  • Tools. Develops tools to measure member performance and communicating technical information to shippers and carriers.
  • Technologies. Identifies, evaluates, and/or certifies technologies for carrier use.
  • Marketing and Outreach. Oversees external communications, including brand building, recruiting, and membership recognition.
  • Evaluation and Assessment. Establishes metrics for overall program performance, maintains a dashboard to assess the program’s progress against its overall goals, and ensures the quality of the data reported by members.