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In the News
May 2008

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Green your fleet: Making the right purchasing decisions using lifecycle costing 

(Source: E3 Fleet Newsletter, January 2009)

Vancouver, BC -- December 2008 -- Now that many organizations are interested in reducing emissions and fuel use in their fleets, they are looking for different purchasing tools to make decisions.

Historically, fleets have purchased new vehicles based on a tender process, where they develop detailed specifications, then go through a process to chose the vehicle with the lowest capital cost. This might not produce the most efficient result. For example, you may purchase a vehicle that has a low up-front cost, but then consumes more fuel or requires more repairs over the life of the vehicle.

Many fleets have begun to make use of requests for proposals (RFPs) as a way of allowing for criteria other than price to be considered, and to take into account additional costs or values provided over the life of the vehicle. Although this takes more effort, and requires closer collaboration between fleet managers and purchasers, it does produce a better result.

E3 Fleet member Metro Vancouver has moved to an RFP process, and has begun to use a purchasing model where new vehicles are selected to have the lowest per km operating cost over the life of the vehicle. At a recent workshop in Vancouver held by E3 Fleet and the Sustainability Purchasing Network, Jim Perkins (supervisor, Fleet Management) explained how Metro Vancouver has implemented this approach.

"While technologies and fuels may change over time, our purchasing approach will help us to optimize our choices, and make the right choice for the environment and the bottom line", said Jim Perkins.

Metro Vancouver has developed an ExcelTM-based tool to compare vehicle purchase choices, resulting in a comparison between all vehicle choices on a cost per km basis. The analysis is based on a variety of data sources, including capital costs, fuel, depreciation, insurance, and maintenance costs. Metro Vancouver populates the sheet with historical data from its existing fleet, or with data from third-party sources such as the federal government fuel rating for vehicles. This allows them to make objective comparisons that do not rely entirely on vendor-supplied information.

In order to link the lifecycle cost of vehicles with its carbon-neutral goal, Metro Vancouver also adds an internal charge for carbon emissions. Metro Vancouver is presently using a cost of $50/tonne, a price that does begin to have an influence over the types of vehicles selected.

Jim Perkins has been involved in a number of initiatives to increase the efficiency of the fleet, including chairing Green Fleets BC's Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Buyers group. However, by having the right purchasing tools in place, he is able to make sure that purchasing choices are environmentally and economically sustainable. As he said during the workshop, "I don't want to go red in order to go green."

Government of Canada invests in green transportation in British Columbia 

In a late December 2008 news release, the Government of Canada, under Transport Canada's Moving on Sustainable Transportation program (MOST), announced a funding investment in four projects in British Columbia that support environmentally friendly transportation:

  • Better Environmentally Sound Transportation in Vancouver will receive a contribution of up to $75,000 for a project to encourage families in two British Columbia municipalities to change their transportation behaviour.
  • DreamRider Theatre Society of Port Moody will receive a contribution of up to $50,000 for a project to create an educational musical play for elementary schools about energy consumption. 
  • The Fraser Basin Council, based in Vancouver, will receive up to $45,000 for a project to coordinate the development and delivery of green transportation by local governments in small and mid-sized communities.
  • Smart Growth BC in Vancouver will receive a contribution of up to $75,000 for a project to help citizens and elected officials in Prince George create a sustainable development plan focusing on alternative transportation planning, green infrastructure and land use.

Summary of Backgrounder on MOST

The Moving on Sustainable Transportation (MOST) program is a Transport Canada funding program that provides financial assistance to non-governmental organizations for projects that will help make sustainable transportation a reality in Canada. Eligible organizations include environmental groups, community associations, academic institutions, aboriginal organizations, and business and professional associations. The types of projects eligible for funding include:

  • studies, analyses or plans that make recommendations on sustainable transportation;
  • development of new and innovative sustainable transportation tools;
  • small-scale pilot projects or demonstration projects that test new sustainable transportation approaches or alternatives;
  • replication of successful sustainable transportation initiatives in additional communities while customizing project details to the new location; and
  • workshops and conferences that educate stakeholders (professionals employed in the field, or managers and staff of sustainable transportation projects) on sustainable transportation.

Individual projects may receive up to $150,000 over three years. Applicants must demonstrate that 50 percent of their eligible project costs are provided by sources other than the program. Project proposals are reviewed by an independent advisory committee according to published evaluation and eligibility criteria. Transport Canada makes the decision on the allocation of funding, drawing on the recommendations of the committee.

For more information, visit Transport Canada's MOST website at www.tc.gc.ca/programs/environment/most/menu.htm.

Kingston Protocol endorses sustainable procurement
Ratification of Community-Built Protocol Next Step For Organizations

(Source: City of Kingston news release)

November 2008. Enthused community partners left [the] SEE Green Summit armed with a historic set of procurement principles – known as the Kingston Protocol – that will bring Kingston closer to its goal of becoming the most sustainable city in Canada. 

Now the community delegates are bringing the Kingston Protocol back to their respective organizations for ratification. "City council is the body that will endorse and adopt the Kingston Protocol on behalf of the Corporation of the City of Kingston," says Paul MacLatchy, the city's director of Strategy, Environment & Communications. "We are extremely proud of and impressed by the great level of consensus and enormous enthusiasm demonstrated for this effort by all the community participants. This protocol is truly a testament to the strength and unity of the Kingston community's vision." 

The founding members of SEE Green are now busy developing the administrative tools that will allow the attraction and engagement of new signing partners from throughout the Kingston community to join the SEE Green Kingston sustainable purchasing network. 

In the meantime, organizations can signal their interest in adopting the Kingston Protocol by sending an email to Linda Ross, manager of Marketing with STANTIVE Technologies Group (linda.ross@stantive.com, 613-887-2604). STANTIVE helped organize the SEE Green Summit and has agreed to be the community's point of contact for the Kingston Protocol. The full draft of the protocol is available for review at www.seegreenkingston.com

"We were inspired by the energy and trust that built between the organizations and are committed to working with the community to see this through to a success," says Douglas Girvin, President of STANTIVE. 

The Kingston Protocol affirms the commitment of its signing members to a set of principles that make sustainability the highest value when evaluating potential purchases. The protocol, the first of its kind in Canada, also outlines the intention of its signing members to pursue organizational efforts in support of the social/cultural, environmental and economic sustainability, and endorses leveraging community collaboration to further enhance these efforts. 

Participants and co-hosts of this first summit included: the City of Kingston, Queen's University, STANTIVE Technologies Group, the Radisson Hotel, DuPont Canada, PrintFusion, DM-C Bespoke Business Communications and AquaTerra by Clark Restaurbistro. 

For further information, contact Paul MacLatchy, Director of Strategy, Environment and Communication, 613-546-4291, ext. 1226.

Alberta communities gain access to [federal] infrastructure funding

An early January 2009 news release announced that Alberta communities of less than 100,000 could now apply to the Building Canada Fund – Communities Component (BCF-CC). 

“Communities can access information on the fund and how to apply for funding at www.buildingcanadafundalberta-cc.ca. The nine categories of infrastructure that are eligible for funding are water, wastewater, solid waste, local roads, culture, sports, connectivity, green energy, and collaborative projects. Projects will be evaluated by a federal-provincial committee through a competitive application-based process. The intake closes on March 15, 2009. Under the Communities Component, the Government of Canada and Province of Alberta are each contributing $88 million to this fund.”

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