Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® applauds partner's leadership in sustainability

Ruan Transportation Management Systems, a member of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy's Sustainability Council, recently received the 2012 SmartWay® Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As one of 40 companies to receive the distinction - representing fewer than 1 percent of SmartWay's 3,000 partners - Ruan was recognized for implementing a variety of environmentally friendly strategies that include driver training, routing efficiencies and efficient equipment. Ruan also operates one of the largest compressed natural gas (CNG) fleets in the country.

"Ruan's expertise is critical to the success of the Innovation Center's precompetitive conversation on dairy sustainability," said Barbara O'Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was established under the leadership of dairy farmers. "Their commitment to advancing and sharing more efficient distribution practices is exemplary. We are fortunate to have them as team leaders for our Dairy Fleet Smart project."

Under Ruan's leadership, the Dairy Fleet Smart™ team customized the EPA SmartWay assessment tool to develop, a free online resource provided by the Innovation Center to help dairy fleet managers measure and improve their fuel efficiency. The tool supports Dairy Fleet Smart's goal to accelerate the adoption of transportation and distribution practices that reduce fuel consumption, costs and emissions.

"Increasing efficiency is an investment in the future because it delivers both economic and environmental benefits," said Jim Mulvenna, senior vice president and general manager of the Dairy and Bulk Food Transport Division at Ruan. "This award affirms our commitment to serving our customers in the safest, most efficient way possible."

As an affiliate partner of EPA SmartWay, the Innovation Center has helped engage the dairy industry in improving the sustainability of the freight transportation industry. Currently, 15 percent of SmartWay's tanker fleet participants are involved with dairy and milk transport.

The Innovation Center also is working in conjunction with the EPA on the ENERGY STAR Challenge for industry - a national call to action to improve the energy efficiency of America's commercial and industrial buildings. Currently, dairies make up nearly 30 percent of the plants participating in the program. Seven dairy plants have already achieved energy savings of 10 percent or more, the equivalent of the energy needed to power 7,300 homes in the U.S.

"Engaging the dairy industry and its partners is essential in continuing to provide consumers with products that are nutritious, produced responsibly and economically viable for all," said Erin Fitzgerald, senior vice president of sustinability for the Innovation Center. "Our partnership with the EPA helps us work toward our collective goals, create business value for our stakeholders and improve the planet for future generations."