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2020 Annual Report on Sustainability

This year marks a key milestone in PITT OHIO’s sustainability journey. It was 10 years ago in 2011 that PITT OHIO began a journey to make Sustainability a core competency. This initiative built upon competencies in Service, Safety and Security. PITT OHIO sees Sustainability as the way to build an organization that is efficient, employee-centric, community-focused, and purpose-driven.


2020 Sustainability Report

Over the past decade, PITT OHIO has achieved several breakthroughs in sustainability.

Here are the Top 10 from the last 10 years:

  1. We built a carbon calculator that measures all of the energy sources PITT OHIO uses
    from the trucks to our buildings and even company travel.
  2. We created a Steering Committee to collaborate on what was happening
    in all aspects of the company to make PITT OHIO a 
    more sustainable organization.
  3. We identified miles per gallon as a key metric and strategized ways to maximize fuel efficiency.
    We looked at driver metrics 
    that maximize fuel use. We reviewed preventative maintenance practices. Finally, we invested in equipment, including compressed
    natural gas (CNG) powered equipment, smaller 
    trucks, equipment with automatic
    transmissions, trailer racks 
    and skirts, and, most recently, electric trucks.
  4. We partnered with Pittsburgh company WindStaxTM to take energy generated from their vertical wind turbines and solar energy to store and use it in our operations. This locally produced energy is cleaner and more efficient because there’s no loss in transmission from the grid. We even send the excess clean energy that is not used onsite back to the grid. In 2020 we received a patent for innovating the process to store and use of the renewable energy from our microgrid in our buildings. Today we have 10 WindStaxTM wind turbines in our operations.
  5. We invested in modern and safe buildings that use new technologies, like geothermal heating and cooling to keep employees comfortable while reducing the need for additional energy. Other innovative features found in our buildings include DC-powered LED lighting, state-of-the-art steam cleaning, and electric forklifts that make our docks cleaner and quieter.
  6. We engaged with our customers to help them achieve their sustainability goals. We can provide estimated Scope 3 emission metrics PITT OHIO shipments through our CO2 Track available to customers on www.pittohio.com.
  7. We publicly report annually on our Sustainability initiatives in our Annual Sustainability Report every year since 2012.
  8. We’ve won the Top Workplaces Award multiple times in a number of our regions and continue to measure employee engagement as a key metric.
  9. The PITT OHIO Wellness Committee has continued to engage employees to support their health, wellness, and safety goals. Financial wellness initiatives, including the Rainy Day Fund, were developed to acknowledge and prevent financial stress with our employees which can impact personal health, as well as on the job safety.
  10. We’ve given almost $1 million to our partner charities over 9 years through employee payroll deductions, donations, and participation in our charity events. This number does not include the in-kind donations our Operations have provided to several organizations.

The past ten years have been exciting and, although 2020 was challenging in many ways, PITT OHIO saw many new achievements:


RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

It would be difficult to discuss anything about 2020 without mentioning the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The PITT OHIO Building Maintenance team jumped into gear procuring digital thermometers and personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep freight moving while keeping employees safe. They monitored the use of PPE and pre-purchased inventory for a 6-month supply. While disinfectant wipes were unavailable, the team created their own refill system for the terminals using 55-gallon drums of disinfectant. New policies and procedures were quickly implemented to carry out social distancing between employees while meeting customer demand. While businesses were affected in different ways, PITT OHIO was able to get trucks to customers in high gear shipping PPE, medical supplies, disinfectants, and other necessities. Internally our Information Technology team helped employees who could work from home do so.


PATENT FOR MICROGRID TECHNOLOGY

In 2020, PITT OHIO was awarded a US patent for the renewable energy DC powered microgrid, which combines solar and wind energy with battery storage to distribute power throughout the facility. This allows the terminal to function autonomously, independent of the grid, essentially indefinitely. “This type of energy resilience and carbon offset is unprecedented in the trucking industry and is a major competitive advantage to PITT OHIO and its customers,” said Ron Gdovic, Founder and CEO, WindStaxTM Energy with whom PITT OHIO collaborated at both the Pittsburgh and Cleveland renewable energy installations.


MILES PER GALLON

We saw a 1.5% improvement in total miles per gallon across the fleet and a 4.8% reduction in diesel gallons. These impressive improvements were the result of additional focus on preventative maintenance on the trucks, as well as improvements in the fleet. Based solely on the improvement in miles per gallon, we estimate over 100,000 gallons of diesel was saved. This is equivalent to almost 1,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.


NEW CLEVELAND FACILITY

In 2020 we began Operations out of our state-of-the-art building in Cleveland OH. This facility builds upon many of the key technologies used at PITT OHIO’s other LEED Certified terminals, including the Gold Certified terminal in Pittsburgh PA to reduce the building’s impact on the environment throughout all phases of its life cycle, including: siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance and removal. Building upon past experience, PITT OHIO partnered with WindStaxTM Energy to design and install a ZeroFirst® high voltage DC microgrid using PV and wind turbines to generate, store, and consume renewable energy on-site. The energy from the 1500 solar panels and 8 WindStaxTM wind turbines stores close to 540 megawatts in the patented microgrid process. The 111,000 square foot facility includes a terminal, mechanic shop, office and warehouse, and will employ 182 employees, including drivers, dockworkers, mechanics, and office personnel.


ELECTRIC TRUCKS

In 2020 we brought 2 different electric vehicles into our fleet to test their capacity and how they could fit into our pickup and delivery operation. We continue to research how we can power electric trucks that are off of the renewable energy microgrid. In 2021, we are bringing 2 medium duty electric trucks and charging stations into our Cleveland terminal. The range of these trucks is expected to be 150 miles. Even with this additional electric load on the terminal’s power, the terminal will still be Net Zero.


NEW INDIANAPOLIS FACILITY

We also moved our Indianapolis terminal to a new, upgraded facility using post-consumer recycled materials where possible, waterless urinals, and LED lighting throughout, including lot lighting. The complex features a weather station on the premises to monitor and research renewable data. Four electric tow motors are being used, which are quieter and produce less carbon emissions. Following in the footsteps of its other locations, PITT OHIO implemented a complete recycling program for plastic, pallets, paper and additional waste.
In 2021, we are working on facility upgrades at several terminals across the network, including lighting upgrades.


GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

Below are the donation totals from 2020. This is a summary of employee contributions and does not include corporate contributions or in-kind donations.


Looking forward to the next 10 years, here is what we are focused on:

  • Continue to be a purpose-driven organization while building on the pillars of Service, Safety, Security, and Sustainability.
  • Continue to research technological and process-based innovations that add efficiency and transparency.
  • Provide employees with information and tools that focus on their health and safety.
  • Continuing to work on improving our miles per gallon even further. Work with manufacturers to test and implement electric trucks, especially where we can utilize energy from our direct current, renewable energy-powered microgrid.
  • New, more accurate carbon estimates for customers based on the freight’s actual movement in our system.

For more information about PITT OHIO’s sustainability program, please contact Justine Russo, Director of Sustainability and BI or visit www.pittohio.com/sustainability

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