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What is SmartWay? How Do I Get SmartWay Certified?

SmartWay is a program established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2004 as a way of helping, “companies advance their supply chain sustainability by measuring, benchmarking, and improving freight transportation efficiency” (EPA, 2023).

What is SmartWay?

The SmartWay Transport Partnership helps companies achieve their sustainability goals by providing tools, data, and standards that can be used for measuring, benchmarking, and improving environmental performance. The services provided by the SmartWay program are free of charge to Partner members.

The EPA, in sharing information about the program, says it developed SmartWay as a way to:

  • Provide a comprehensive and well-recognized system for tracking, documenting, and sharing information about fuel use and freight emissions.

  • Help companies identify and select more efficient freight carriers, transport modes, equipment, and operation strategies to lower costs and improve supply chain sustainability.

  • Support global energy security and offset environmental risk for companies and countries.

  • Reduce freight transportation-related emissions by speeding up the use of fuel-saving technology.

  • Establish a program that is supported by major transportation industry associations, environmental groups, government agencies, and the corporate community.

The EPA goes on to describe 3 core elements of the SmartWay Program:

The SmartWay Transport Partnership

  • Shippers, carriers, and logistics companies partner with EPA to measure, benchmark, and improve logistics operations to reduce environmental footprints and overall impact.

The SmartWay Brand

  • SmartWay verifications have accelerated the adoption of fuel-saving technologies and operational best practices that help minimize negative effects on the environment.

SmartWay Global Collaboration

  • The EPA works with several global organizations to standardize accounting methods and promote effective policymaking related to sustainability.

What kind of SmartWay partner registrations are there?

Companies that ship, manage, or carry freight can join SmartWay as a registered SmartWay Partner. There are three types of partners in the SmartWay Program:

SmartWay Shipper Partners

  • Organizations that ship freight

SmartWay Carrier Partners

  • Businesses that carry or move goods for shippers

SmartWay Logistics Company Partners

  • Firms that hire freight carriers and manage freight shipments for shippers (e.g., 3PLs, Freight Brokers, Freight Forwarders)

If an organization does not fall into these categories but still want to participate in SmartWay, they may be eligible to become SmartWay Affiliates.

Changes in the emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility means that today’s freight shipping clients are increasingly demanding transparency and accountability from companies in their supply chain, including partners. Carriers that join the SmartWay program can meet these demands with ease because they measure, benchmark, and track their efforts to increase fuel economy and have documentation to prove it.

The SmartWay Program helps carriers show their efficiency achievements, continuous improvement, and learn about best practices. Becoming a SmartWay Partner is a win-win because it saves your business money and there are less harmful emissions in the environment. The program also gives SmartWay Partners a competitive advantage over non-SmartWay Partners.

What do I receive as a SmartWay partner?

When you register your company as a SmartWay Partner, you can receive the following:

  • Environmental performance data for use in sustainability reports and sustainability accounting.

  • Access to detailed reports and statistics about your company’s efficiency and performance compared to peers

  • Documentation of your company's performance that you can share with customers and other stakeholder to show that the company is in good standing with the SmartWay Program.

  • Rights to use the SmartWay Logo to promote your company’s participation in a variety of ways.

  • The option of putting the SmartWay logo on company tractors and trailer if the equipment meets EPA standards.

There are nearly 4,000 SmartWay Partners.

How does SmartWay work? What are the steps?

SmartWay offers an integrated set of free, peer-reviewed sustainability accounting and tracking tools that help companies make informed decisions about freight transportation. These metrics and tracking tools help partners measure, benchmark, and report emissions to improve freight efficiency and environmental performance in their supply chain.

The EPA lists 5 basic steps to have success with their SmartWay Program:

  1. Measure your supply chain footprint

  2. Benchmark performance

  3. Report Results

  4. Innovate operations

  5. Improve efficiency

Carriers that haul freight measure their fuel efficiency, and when they submit this information to the EPA they become Carrier Partners. Their performance is then ranked against other companies in their sector. The SmartWay Program then aggregates information from SmartWay Carrier Partners and provides this information to Shipper Partners or Logistics Company Partners to allow them to be able to assess the impact of their current transportation activities to find better alternatives.

Where/How do I apply? How much does it cost?

Becoming a SmartWay Partner is done by completing a simple application form which will allow you to begin measuring, benchmarking, and tracking your efficiency and emissions footprint.

There are separate Applications based on your type of company, so be sure you are filling out the correct form.

Completing the applications are free-of-charge to carriers, shippers, and logistics companies that are aiming to join the SmartWay Program.

To remain in good standing as a SmartWay Partner, companies must submit their metrics and other data, their so-called online performance tool, on time annually. Once their information or tool is approved, the company will be registered as a SmartWay Partner for one calendar year from the tool's due date.

What are the benefits of becoming a SmartWay Carrier Partner?

Helping reduce fuel consumption and increase efficiency will help save businesses money. This is just one benefit that joining as a SmartWay Carrier Partner. Other benefits that the EPA has identified include:

Credible efficiency tracking and emissions accounting:

  • The EPA’s performance tools are defined as a “gold standard” of fuel efficiency and emissions accounting, ensuring that tracking efforts are consistent with industry best practices.

Demonstrated Commitment:

  • Customers and clients look to SmartWay to identify more efficient carriers. Participation in the program signals that efficiency is a priority of your company.

Measurable Results:

  • The program track the metrics that matter most to a company’s bottom line. Benchmarking and monitoring performance will allow you to see how your company compares to your peers, as well as how your efforts affect results on a year-to-year basis. SmartWay provides reports that make it easy to show improvement.

Operational Efficiencies:

  • SmartWay helps you identify inefficiency and waste that costs you money and allows you to make strategic improvements each year.

Continuous Improvement:

  • Annual participation in SmartWay provides business intelligence that helps pinpoint real achievements and shows opportunities to get better.

Industry Recognition:

  • The EPA showcases companies that demonstrate sustainability best practices in case studies, profiles, panel discussions, and awards.

According to the EPA, since its introduction in 2004 the SmartWay brand has helped achieve substantial emissions reductions in transportation. The program has undoubtedly raised awareness about the need to improve sustainability in logistics and transportation. This has prompted trucking businesses and their customers (shippers) to improve how goods are transported and shipped. More companies than ever before are pursuing environmental excellence through benchmark changes and best practices that result in less fuel use, lower costs, and reduced emissions. Prior to its creation it was difficult for companies to identify goods moved with reduced environmental impacts, but today, “the SmartWay brand sends a clear signal to suppliers, customers, and the broader public about a company’s environmental commitment” (EPA, 2023).

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oshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. Contents may not be relied upon as a substitute for the FMCSA's published regulations. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.


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