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Balancing Act

Fleet operators burn fuel. GreenPrint helps mitigate the emissions.

The green movement has embraced myriad industries, including the diesel marketplace, where a company called GreenPrint has developed sustainability initiatives calculated to offset diesel fuel CO2 emissions by up to 100%, reports Fuel Oil News contributing writer Maura Keller. The company’s ‘going green’ fuel programs, which include its branded “Zero” program as well as private branded programs, are helping some fuel suppliers and distributors change the way they’re offering diesel to their customers.

Pete Davis, co-founder and CEO of GreenPrint, describes the Zero reduced emissions fuel program as “a turnkey sustainability program.” It was established by GreenPrint in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. GreenPrint’s goal is to enable fleet operators and consumers to minimize their carbon footprint. The partners develop and operate low-carbon and reduced-emissions fuel programs through a patent-protected platform with an initial focus on the retail gasoline, fleet, and consumer product industries.

“Our Zero program automatically and significantly reduces your client’s diesel emissions through proportionate investments in projects that sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, making your vehicles some of the cleanest on the road,” Davis says. The program supports initiatives across the globe such as reforestation, afforestation (establishing a forest on land not previously forested), solar power, wind power, biomass, landfill gas capture, ocean plastic clean up, and local tree plantings.

Headquartered in Atlanta, GreenPrint was founded by Davis and Trenton Spindler in mid-2014, in response to increased interest in sustainability, environmentalism and the green movement.

“Before starting GreenPrint I had a loyalty company whereby we established loyalty programs for large companies, airlines and hospitality organizations,” Davis says. “We worked on a program with the Kroger Mastercard, which was integrated with their fuel pumps at stores, allowing customers to earn triple points when they purchase fuel.”

Through the loyalty programs Davis began to understand consumer buying behavior in grocery stores and how today’s consumers are directing their purchases toward more green, organic products that were not only good for the environment and for their health, but also had slightly higher margins that customers were willing to pay.

“When we integrated the fuel pumps into this reward program for Kroger, it was our first foray into retail fuel,” Davis says. “I realized that in this commodity-driven segment of fuel, people were competing on price. At the same time, I saw people buying higher margin items in the grocery store that used to be considered commodities, such as milk and bananas, and that used to be price-driven, similar to fuel. I thought it would be interesting if there was a sustainable fuel program that would allow retailers to present themselves by offering a value-added product to consumers that would allow them to be ‘green’ before alternative fuel vehicles really took hold in the future.”

The Zero reduced-emissions retail program was originally launched as a BP program in Atlanta and has since grown exponentially, according to Davis, who says that by the end of 2016, GreenPrint had 10 corporate level partners, who in turn work with 50,000 companies in 12 countries, all utilizing the Zero reduced-emissions fuel program (or a privately branded version) in their product offerings. In 2017 participants expect to do about 500 million gallons, with a “stretch” target of 1 billion gallons.

“It is registering with consumers,” Davis says. “And our fleet program is growing as we work directly with corporate fleets and directly through wholesalers and suppliers that distribute to their fleet customers.”

As Davis explains, the Zero program is about sustainability. “Companies like Google and Microsoft are now going carbon neutral and calculating their companies’ greenhouse gas footprint and taking steps to neutralize it, and more companies are following suit,” Davis says.

Here’s how it works: GreenPrint measures a fleet’s carbon footprint, consults with the fleet owners/operators on the best emission reduction practices, and invests in certified offset projects counterbalancing the fleet’s environmental impact. Further, GreenPrint invests additional amounts in local tree planting and greenscape projects.

Specifically, on a per gallon of diesel or fuel, GreenPrint calculates carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions. Using a proprietary algorithm database, GreenPrint calculates carbon emissions per gallon, per location, per vehicle type. GreenPrint then invests in projects such as clean air projects or forestry projects, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation.

“We help small vehicles fleets, large van lines, and corporate and municipal fleets alike deliver valuable messaging, goodwill, and demonstrate a forward-thinking mindset to their stakeholders and customers. It involves the same fuel, the same pumps, and the same vehicles,” Davis says. Based on the Zero program that a fleet uses, GreenPrint provides collateral marketing at the pump, on premises, and online. They also establish marketing initiatives for television, radio, and print advertising.

“We offer a marketing support team—we partner with a client wholesaler or fuel marketer,” Davis says. “We create a brand for them, build a web site, help with campaigns, including traditional print, TV, radio campaigns. That is critical to its success.”

For every gallon of fuel a company sells, GreenPrint invests proportionately in a certified carbon offset project neutralizing the carbon emissions that will be emitted as customers drive.

“For corporate fleets, there is a cost to do it,” Davis says. “We calculate the emissions and the per gallon cost, which can be as little as a quarter of a penny per gallon. The supplier pays us and while some suppliers charge their clients, others simply offer it as a value-added service. It depends on the customer. Companies, for a fraction of a penny, can offer this program to their customers.”

“We offer the Zero program on all fuel grades including diesel, which tends to resonate with smaller corporate fleet customers. We have a number of different diesel programs including diesel retail programs,” Davis says. “We have wholesale supplier and distributor relationships and about fifty percent of our volume comes through this channel, which includes working directly with corporate fleets or through distributors who serve fleets. We create branded programs, marketing kits and other collateral for their clients. Again, some clients may charge and others bundle it in and offer it for customers for as little as a quarter of a penny a gallon.”

For example, the Strive Fuel program, a privately branded version of the Zero program, is currently offered at Alon 7-Eleven gas station and convenience stores across four states. Each time a customer pumps a gallon of fuel at an Alon 7-Eleven in Albuquerque, Strive will calculate the vehicle’s tailpipe emissions and invest in projects that reduce those emissions by up to 30%. The fuel program does not carry any surcharge for the consumer at the pump.

Faced with high-energy costs, environmental concerns by consumers, and government regulatory measures, the world’s leading automakers are embracing new technological advancements to make today’s vehicles more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. In recent years, there have been advancements in alternative fuels. Davis anticipates that alternative fuels, in some capacity, will figure into the future fuel market and fleet operations. Fuel marketers will be able to shape their own fortunes, and gain market share, by integrating alternative fuel sources into their business and not depending solely on gasoline or diesel, Davis expects. But pending a complete transformation to alternative fuels, Davis says, GreenPrint’s Zero reduced fuel emissions program offers a solution.

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