Program Design


Follow the steps below to start designing your program.

  1. Refine Program Goals and Set Strategies. Establishing program goals are fundamental to creating an effective program. Review goals that you generated in the previous section and verify that they are responsive to the needs of the freight industry in your country/region.
  2. Define the Program’s Value Proposition. What value will your program have for members participating in your program? Generate a simple statement that explains what you are offering to your members in terms they will understand. It should answer the fundamental question: “What’s in it for me?” For ideas and information about the importance of green freight programs and their economic, environmental, and social benefits, review the Why Green Freight section. In addition, consider how some existing programs have framed the case for joining:
  3. Create a Membership Agreement. This document establishes the mutual commitments between members and the program, including how and when members need to submit data, what types of data are confidential and what are public, and any restrictions on use of the data. The agreement also spells out how either party can terminate the agreement. 
  4. Identify Pilot Members. Pilot members make an early, initial commitment to the program and serve as its “anchors.” As industry leaders, their participation and endorsement will generate credibility, publicity, and momentum for successful growth. By providing an industry perspective, pilot members can also help shape your program’s design, goals, and incentives so that they are realistic and effective in stimulating engagement from the freight sector. Pilot members should be companies that:
    • Are already pursuing fuel or emission reduction strategies
    • Are largest shippers or carriers as measured by tonnage
    • Care about their environmental reputations
    • Represent the major freight modes in your country (e.g., truck, rail, marine) and represent shipper, carrier, and logistics companies
  5. Identify Initial Staffing Needs. Determining the appropriate number of staff needed will depend highly on local circumstances and program size. In addition, staffing needs will change over time as your program grows. For now, start recruiting to fill the positions you identified in the previous section, such as: 
    • Program management staff to run the program. Ideally, have two to three FTEs in this role who are knowledgeable about the national freight industry and who have experience in voluntary program design and implementation.
    • Member management and recruiting staff, or program account managers (PAMs) and recruiters, who will serve as the “face” of the program. Plan to have one full time equivalent (FTE) PAM with experience in customer service and strong quantitative and database skills handling 60 members at first. Assign one FTE recruiter, with experience in the freight industry and strong interpersonal and networking skills, to 100-150 recruitment prospects.
    • Technical staff to build and maintain the program database and tools, who possess industry sector-specific knowledge, ability to interpret technical reports and data, and expertise with computers and software programs. Depending on the size and sophistication of your tools and database, plan to have three to five technical FTEs join your team.
    • Marketing and outreach staff, with expertise in communications and outreach, will manage and coordinate all internal and outgoing communications with consistent messaging. Anticipate having one to two FTE communications professionals fulfill this function. 
  6. Define Categories of Members who Move Freight. During the initial phases of your program, consider developing categories for the different types of members, especially those from the sectors responsible for the most ton-miles of freight or have the largest vehicle fleets in your country. Member categories of interest may include:
    • Shippers. Any company that ships or receives items delivered by truck, rail, or vessel. Many shippers are under increasing pressure to benchmark, report, and reduce their supply chain carbon footprint and reduce operational costs. Your program and tools will give them a reliable, consistent means of comparing carrier performance and making informed choices.
    • Truck Carriers. Public for-hire fleets, truck owner-operators, and private fleets. Truck carriers will be incentivized to improve their overall performance to compete for shipper business.
    • Rail Carriers. Any freight rail carrier. Rail freight is generally more efficient than truck modes and can provide Shippers with an effective means of improving their carbon footprint. Rail carriers can also be incentivized to improve their overall performance to compete for shipper business.
    • Other Carrier Modes. Other options for freight movement include inland barge, commercial vessels, air, and multi-modal carriers (e.g. carriers offering combined truck and rail service).
    • Logistics Providers. Companies that provide freight services to shippers through for-hire carriers. These companies can help all parties achieve their goals by sharing information, identifying efficiency improvement opportunities, and recruiting new carriers.
    • Member Affiliates. Trade associations, professional groups, academic/research institutions, environmental organizations, and other nonprofits that support the goals of the partnership. These members committee to conducting educational workshops, supporting members, recruiting, offering discounts, holding press and promotion events, and carrying out additional activities.
  7. Define Finance Program Structure. Assuming you secured financing by following the steps in the previous section, you are ready to establish a finance program to help members overcome the high upfront costs associated with purchasing new vehicles and purchasing and installing new technologies. Successful finance programs typically include the following elements:
    • Funding. This is the capital that will be distributed to members.
    • Structure. How will you distribute the capital in your program? Consider whether to disperse funds through loans, grants, revolving loan funds, subsidies, and/or rebates.
    • Eligibility Requirements. Who or what is eligible for funding? Determine criteria, such as company size, region, or particular technologies or vehicles.
    • Loan Terms and Consequences. Outline basic terms and determine the consequences for defaulting or not fulfilling the terms of the financial agreement.