Living Planet @ Work Champion of the Month: David Devries

© David DeVries / Hydro One

By Adrienne Lo, Head of Living Planet @ Work, WWF-Canada

The more I learn from the growing contingent of passionate and dedicated workplace leaders, the more obvious the undeniable link between protecting the environment and improving business results becomes.

I recently chatted with David DeVries, Fleet Services Manager at Hydro One Networks Inc., Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution company.  David is responsible for the operational effectiveness and efficiency of a diverse fleet consisting of over 5000, including light, commercial and off-road vehicles.  Serving over 1.4 million end-use customers all throughout Ontario one can only imagine the distance traveled by this fleet as employees maintain the safe and reliable supply of electricity for their customers.

On his job and the Hydro One Green Fleet program:

“Environmental considerations play a huge aspect in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of our fleet.   We have focused on three main areas: (1) Making sure tires are properly inflated, (2) Replacing old vehicles with more fuel-efficient ones, and (3) Encouraging eco-driving behaviours which include anti-idling, speed-limiting and route-planning.   For example, why would you want a driver headed east on the 401 at peak rush hour?”

On the impact they have had so far:

“From the increase in eco-driving behaviours alone, we are currently saving enough fuel to drive a family car for over 1 million kilometers every year."

And in the near future, with new tools that can better influence driver behavior, we hope to grow this to 12 million kilometers in efficiencies annually.  To put this into perspective, that’s equivalent to going around the world 300 times!   The environmental and cost savings associated with improving efficiencies like this – which are usually low-hanging fruit – can be significant.”

On the culture of conservation at work:

“There is a lot of experimenting to find the balance between operational effectiveness and our environmental targets.  The enthusiasm for trying new initiatives always impresses me; I’ll throw something at the team and they will run with it. It’s also important to meet with other groups doing similar things to stay up to date on new trends and best practices.”

On going back to basics:

I see a huge opportunity to go back to the basics and to only do what we need. We do this by asking ourselves questions like ‘Do we really need a bigger truck or is there an alternative’.

From a business perspective, maximizing efficiency is essential.  At Hydro One, it is also about delivering value to our customers.  It is about doing things better, taking a look at justifications for standards and verifying our needs.

On his personal commitment to preserving the environment (and I couldn’t have put it better!):

“Simply put, I have a 5-year old little girl – I want my daughter to have an inheritance that is more than just a pile of loot.”

Are you a fleet manager or someone who is responsible for your company’s employee and business travel policy and initiatives?  We would love to hear from you!  Sustainable transportation is a significant opportunity for any workplace sustainability program. 

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