The just-concluded Fleet Forum Summit, held in Geneva, Switzerland, brought together 30 Fleet Forum member organisations from across the aid and development sector as well as supplier members, academic and collaborative organisations to deliberate on important actions for addressing sustainable fleet management.
Hosted by ICRC and TGS, the “Summit”, the first of its kind activity in Fleet Forum’s 20-year history commenced with 24 Fleet Forum members making aspirational and at the same time, concrete commitments to sustainable fleet management.
After nine months of consultations, Fleet Forum member organisations adopted the Commitments as the cornerstone of their sustainable fleet ambitions:
The Summit raised expectations from previous conferences, reflecting the urgency for climate action and willingness of Fleet Forum member organisations to take action and reduce their environmental footprint. Many members see the Summit as a way to advance efforts from previous conferences, particularly in areas such as emission target setting and vehicle sharing.
Valerie Abrell - Duong, Chief Digital & Operation Officer at ICRC opened the Summit stating “Reducing our environmental footprint requires with us to change the work we do. At ICRC we are focusing on recycling, reduction of fleet emissions by having lower-emitting vehicles and by building capacity. I’m happy we can host the Fleet Forum Summit, this is the community that will work together to come up with great fleet ideas and initiatives”.
Katherine Vad, Environment and Climate Change Advisor, shared ICRC’s decarbonization roadmap “Reducing our fleet size and composition is a key initiative we are championing as part of our wider target to reduce our GHG emissions by 50% by 2030. Consume less and Consume better!”
A secondary highlight of Fleet Forum Summit was the historic decision to collectively report on fleet emissions annually as a member community through the Clean Fleet Toolkit. It is a significant milestone because it will concretely demonstrate the progress that members are making on their emission-reduction targets.
The role of key actors in the ecosystem was again recognised — notably donors (governmental and UN agencies) and fleet-related suppliers. Both these stakeholder groups play an important role in enabling Fleet Forum members to deliver on the commitments.
A key outcome of the Summit, was the identification of 3 priorities which members will jointly tackle in the coming months:
Establishment of a platform where fleet managers can share evidence-based best practices, lessons learned and technical sustainable fleet expertise .
Suppliers, specifically vehicle manufacturers and distributors, must play a leading role in setting up the reverse logistics of fleet waste.
Advocacy with donors for the provision of fixed percentage of project funding, on top of the existing project funding, to be allocated for green initiatives
Just as important, on sector collaboration, members have expressed a keen desire to:
Convene on a quarterly basis, with a strong facilitated approach, focused on spreading knowledge of sustainable fleet initiatives and success stories .
Make Fleet Forum’s knowledge platform more accessible for member sharing and innovation.
Yet to be resolved, however, is the second barrier identified during the Summit: lack of leadership (vision, governance and robust implementation plan). Despite significant challenges faced by Fleet Forum members in addressing this matter, they were unable to reach a consensus on how Fleet Forum could assist them. A subsequent conversation focused on this particular issue will be arranged.
Fleet Forum Executive Director, Paul Jansen reflected “We recognise that sustainability begins with a clear understanding of where we stand today. To make progress, we need clear goals for reduction of emissions from road transport. Most organisations in our community agreed to have a baseline set, and objectives for reduction of emissions defined in the next 12 months. I am very pleased that we can celebrate these commitments during the Summit. These commitments will serve as the foundation for our collective efforts going forward”.
As the cliché goes, “the end of one conference is the start of preparations for the next one.” Fleet Forum members, therefore, will need to regroup, validate the action plan based on the key outcomes from the Summit, drive progress on the agreed priorities and identify new horizons for the 2024 Summit.