HEB, Sysco Drive Eco-Friendly Initiative
By George Anderson
H.E. Butt and Sysco are looking to make breathing a little easier for residents of Houston.
The Texas city’s air quality standards fall below those set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the two companies have announced plans to convert tractor-trailers serving
the market from diesel to liquefied natural gas (LNG).
A report in Houston’s Chronicle newspaper said that, according to one study, every truck the companies convert will be the equivalent of taking 62 gas-burning cars off
Gary Cullen, president of Sysco, said, “We’re committed to do whatever we can to get the future here a little bit sooner.”
Susan Gertner, environmental affairs manager for H. E. Butt, said converting to LNG has added costs but that in the end it becomes a break-even proposition as trucks running
on LNG cost less to maintain.
Cal Hodge, president of A Second Opinion, a consulting firm in the Houston-area specializing in fuels and regulatory issues, said converting doesn’t make sense from a purely
economic standpoint but he sees the value in displaying leadership from an environmental stewardship point of view.
“Their trucks will wear out before they get any potential savings on fuel costs,” he said.
Both Sysco and H.E. Butt are also eligible for governmental funding to support conversion. Sysco, according to the Houston Chronicle report, has 27 trucks running on LNG
in Houston with 42 more to be added. H.E. Butt has converted 62 trucks in Houston, more than half its local fleet, to run on LNG.
Moderator’s Comment: What is your view on the need for businesses to actively serve as stewards for the environment, such as in the case of Sysco and
H.E. Butt converting trucks to LNG? –
George Anderson – Moderator