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Driving America’s Businesses Forward with Proactive ESG Strategies at the Forefront


Driving America’s Businesses Forward with Proactive ESG Strategies at the Forefront

Entering the new millennium, few companies across all industries had a watchful eye toward environmental stewardship, particularly throughout the heavy-duty truck transportation industries. However, just a few short years later, governments in many countries began to better understand the benefits that could come from corporations curbing their carbon emissions output, and new greenhouse gas mandates began to take effect by the early 2000s.

Pioneering Insight for Industry Sustainability

In the early 2000s, the use of data analytics began to help fleet customers run their operations more efficiently. Fleet Advantage CEO, John Flynn, had a family relative who was receiving treatment for cancer caused by environmental pollutants, and Flynn realized the importance of leveraging resources to help companies with transportation fleets not only comply with the new environmental regulations but serve as model corporations regarding environmental stewardship.

Flynn understood the importance of being the future of truck leasing by advocating solutions that would significantly reduce emissions over time. By 2011, leading fleet consultants had begun to make strong recommendations against the use of older-model equipment because of toxic emissions. They introduced never-seen-before emissions scorecards, and an innovative replacement program with financial flexibility in mind that made it beneficial to operate newer, clean-diesel engines. These programs also helped fleets meet new GHG-1 Federal mandate standards and calculated fuel economy gains at 2.5% MPG and CO2 reductions.

A Focus on Environmental Stewardship

Between 2016 and 2021, leading industry players continued their mission to help fleets change the way they see the environment, as well as their impact. Advanced asset management strategies helped companies reach environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals while promoting sustainability through shortening asset life cycles, optimizing vehicle specifications to be more fuel-efficient, and to align with the duty cycle as well as geographical locale. New approaches also specified lighter components that allow for longer maintenance intervals which reduce environmental hazmat waste disposal.

Today, with Flynn’s foresight, companies are boasting vastly improved environmental records while implementing ESG strategies in front of customers, regulators, and other critical stakeholders. As an example, Fleet Advantage has saved customers approximately $250 million and approximately 175,000 metric tons in emissions since inception.

Socially Conscious Organizations

In addition to environmental stewardship, social criteria are also within companies’ ESG strategies. It’s important that organizations are operating the newest and safest trucks that keep all motorists safe and help attract and retain a greater pool of diverse drivers and other staff. Fleet specification experts work with each company to design new trucks for maximum safety, fuel efficiency, lowest maintenance cost, and highest resale values through innovative programs that focus on upgrading to newer trucks with advanced safety features. By focusing on safety proactively, fleets are recognizing risks that they may otherwise not likely identify, as well as a solution that could save millions of dollars in cost reduction while avoiding damage to their corporate image and brand identity.

Socially responsible organizations today also recognize that a more diverse approach to the transportation industry unlocks more potential growth for organizations through the advancement and empowerment of a gender-diverse workforce.

Governance & Corporate Leadership

Governance is an area many companies have struggled with in recent history. This pertains to the governance factors of decision-making, from sovereigns’ policymaking to the distribution of rights and responsibilities among different participants in corporations, including the board of directors, managers, shareholders and stakeholders. Governance factors highlight the processes for organizations. Fleet experts today provide analytics, processes, and transparency so that clients can meet legal requirements and satisfy every stakeholder in the process.

Today and Looking Ahead

Today, Flynn is proud of the leadership his company displays in life cycle asset management, data analytics and overall strategies to help clients lead competitive and agile organizations through better decision-making. Leading companies today are proud of the culture they have created internally, and many are strong examples of how diversity and inclusion in the workplace can have a substantially positive impact on their organization, employees, customers, and the surrounding communities. They believe that the long-term success of any business calls for a diverse body of talent that can bring fresh ideas, perspectives, and viewpoints into the workplace. Fleet experts now strive to create a culture of diverse individuals from all races, ages, genders, education levels, and cultural backgrounds.

Ultimately, leading executives like Flynn and his company have a goal to help the industry become as sustainable, socially conscious, and governed with as much integrity as possible. Every effort these leading companies put forth is to benefit all – the environment, clients, stakeholders and local communities.


About The Author: Katerina Jones is Vice President, Marketing and Business Development at Fleet Advantage, a leading innovator in truck fleet business analytics, equipment financing and lifecycle cost management. For more information visit


The Consequences of ESG Risk Exposure

Last week, news emerged linking an electronics company to the transport and employment of labor in Xinjiang, an autonomous region in northwest China with documented occurrences of widespread human rights violations. This is the latest in a series of reports and white papers investigating supply chain connections to this region and the forced labor on its inhabitants. These reports not only expose the atrocities and human suffering in the region but also reveal significant supply chain risks that may not even be on an organization’s radar. With more than half of companies lacking supply chain visibility across their extended ecosystem, organizations are at a growing risk of both environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reputational risks, as well as regulatory risks as governments across the globe ban supply chain exposure to these human rights violations.

Nth-tier Supply Chain Risks

Lacking visibility across the supply chain leaves companies susceptible to blind spots and risks of which they may not be aware. For instance, inspired by this news, we identified almost one hundred companies with direct relationships to the company highlighted in their article, a number that significantly expands when looking beyond the first-tier. Thanks to the hyper-specialization and opacity of supply chains, many companies may not be aware that they risk potential exposure to human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Below is a breakdown, by industry, of companies with direct connections to Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI). While the software industry intuitively comprises a quarter of the companies, other industries such as machinery, media, or entertainment may initially assume minimal exposure. At a time when every company is a tech company, few companies are immune to these kinds of connections.

Global Focus

These recent revelations build on a growing governmental emphasis on prohibiting forced labor from supply chains. In July, the United States government issued a joint advisory pertaining to the heightened risks for businesses with supply chain and investment links to Xinjiang. Released by the U.S. Department of State, U.S Department of Treasury, U.S Department of Commerce, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Labor, the “Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory” highlighted the range of risks to which companies may be exposed when conducting business in that region. As the advisory notes, these include exposure to regulatory risks, surveillance, and human rights abuses.

This advisory reflects the growing focus on ESG supply chain risks as well as the regulatory risks related to the inclusion of prohibited and restricted companies within a supply chain. In the U.S. the Department of Commerce continues to expand various restrictions lists due to human rights violations, banning solar panels companies to numerous tech companies for their connection.

In the European Union, the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime introduced restrictive measures of entities connected to human rights violations. This is part of a broader emphasis across the ESG spectrum, including the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation as well as mandatory due diligence for human rights, environmental, and governance issues.

Further, as ESG concerns spread worldwide, so does the country coverage for impacted companies. Below is a map denoting the geolocations for the companies which are supplied by Universal Electronics. It is worth noting that, while the US and the EU have issued restrictions and guidelines in this regard, nearly 50% of UEI’s consumers are located in these regions.

Gaining Visibility Across Supply Chain Risks

The Joint Advisory notes, “Given the severity and extent of these abuses, businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures, and/or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating U.S. law.” Based on both market forces as well as regulatory shifts, it is increasingly essential to maintain visibility across your extended supply chain and proactively eliminate potential exposure to ESG reputational and regulatory risks.

While we quickly identified almost one hundred companies with potential ESG exposure, we only referenced direct suppliers. By looking at the second, third, fourth tier, and beyond, these numbers exponentially grow and illustrate the complex web and risks that extend throughout supply chain ecosystems.

The complexity of these networks and the growing consequences for failing to address ESG risk in the supply chain highlights the clear need for organizations to reexamine how they identify and monitor their extended business relationships.

To learn more about extended supply chain risk and the consequences of ESG risk exposure, visit


Andrea Little Limbago is the Vice President of Research and Analysis at Interos