Social Responsibility and Community Interests

Ruan was founded with a philanthropic spirit. From the beginning, we have been dedicated to environmental stewardship and serving the community we call home.

The World Food Prize

Created in 1986 by Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, the World Food Prize honors the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. Each year, the prize recognizes a significant contribution from any field that affects the world's food supply, including food and agriculture, science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership, or the social sciences.

The prize was almost discontinued in 1990 when the original sponsor withdrew its support and the Nobel committee turned down Dr. Borlaug's request for funding. Fortunately, John Ruan heard of his fellow Iowan's dilemma and made the decision to establish a foundation that assumed sponsorship of the World Food Prize.

The prize became one of Mr. Ruan's passions, and he worked to raise its profile in Des Moines, across the nation, and throughout the world. In 1994, Ruan and Borlaug added the World Food Prize Youth Institute, and in 1997, Ruan contributed $10 million to permanently endow the prize and ensure its tenure in Des Moines. The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates—spearheaded by John Ruan III and the City of Des Moines—opened in 2011.

Today, with its $250,000 award, the World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing excellence and progress in overcoming global food production and distribution challenges while inspiring new generations to embrace the cause.

Serving Our Community

Founder John Ruan instilled a deep sense of philanthropy into the company and our team members. Ruan locations across the country celebrate Founder's Days each July by volunteering in their communities and organizing food and clothing drives. 

Each year, Ruan team members working in the corporate office are invited to participate in the campaign that supports central Iowans in need. United Way of Central Iowa (UWCI) is a voluntary, non-profit organization that brings together community volunteers and agencies to provide health and human services to individuals who live or work in central Iowa. The organization supports those individuals in the areas of income, health, and education through its own initiatives and a variety of participating organizations. Ruan offers team member participation-based incentives and matches each donation, dollar-for-dollar. Ruan was recently awarded the Game Changer Award from UWCI for our 2017 campaign. This award is given to honor organizations for their dedication, innovation, and success in giving.

Driving Toward A Cleaner Future

Ruan has always believed we are more than a transportation company; we are a part of the communities we serve. That's why we view sustainability as more than good business—it's a moral imperative. We are always determined to make our trucks cleaner and more efficient.

We continually strive to design supply chain solutions for our customers that emphasize and take advantage of environmental efficiencies. Fuel efficiency saves on transportation costs; energy conservation reduces utility costs. Lightweight materials increase efficiency. We are proud to pass these savings onto our customers. 

Here are a few additional ways we add value to our clients' supply chains through environmental initiatives.

Engine Technology and Design

Ruan continually works with engine manufacturers to develop longer-lasting, lower-emitting engines with improved performance and lower fuel consumption. The base tractor specification we use matches the EPA's recommended tractor for best fuel consumption. Our entire fleet is made up of lightweight trucks and trailers with green specifications including efficient progressive shifting; tire pressure monitoring systems and auto-inflation trailer tire systems; auxiliary power units to eliminate engine idle time; and onboard recorders monitoring miles per gallon fuel usage, idle time, hard braking, and more to keep fuel consumption low.

Alternative Fuels

Ruan uses alternative fuel types including biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), renewable natural gas (RNG), and renewable hydrocarbon diesel. Our CNG fleet of more than 100 trucks services multiple customers and industries, resulting in millions of pounds of reduction of CO2 emissions. Ruan's alternative fuels strategic committee stays abreast of alternative fuels developments and continually looks for ways to implement sustainable fueling options into our fleet.

Ruan is one of only three for-hire transportation companies selected for the National Clean Fleets Partnership (NCFP) membership and participates in their Clean Cities annual study. The Partnership assists fleets across the country implement strategies to advance alternative fuels and energy-efficient vehicle technologies. 


Ruan is named a SmartWay High Performer in the truck carriers category by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The SmartWay High Performer designation is given to shippers, carriers, and logistics providers who lead the way on clean freight. High Performers are determined based on freight activity, fuel use, and more information that SmartWay partners, such as Ruan, voluntarily share with the EPA. Those recognized as SmartWay High Performers have efficiency and air quality performance that outranks other participants. Just over 2 percent of all SmartWay carriers operate fleets clean and efficient enough to be named to the SmartWay High Performers list. 

SmartWay Logo

Ruan has been a SmartWay member since 2014 and has been honored with the SmartWay Excellence Award numerous times. To achieve such measures, Ruan has invested in technologies to help reduce fuel use and emissions, properly dispose of and recycle materials, and reduce paper usage across all operations.

More information on our various environmental initiatives can be found in our environmental brochure.