To give you an idea of the challenge ahead: CO2 emissions from freight at set to rise 76% between 2015 and 2050. Yet to live up to expectations of the Paris Climate Agreement we need to move in the opposite direction: reduce emissions by 20-65%, depending on whether you follow a 2 or 1.5-degree scenario. This requires a transformation of the sector that pulls everything out of the closet and revisits how the logistics system is designed, and yes, even questioning whether freight is really needed.
Many would argue this is an impossible target. The freight sector is not in control of its own destiny but merely responds to market demand. Governments overlook freight in infrastructure, policies and plans – for example only 13% of countries mention freight explicitly in their climate plans or ‘NDCs’. The sector is fragmented and margins are too thin to free up investment capital. And even if there was money available, why spend it on transport? Despite the potential for emission reduction, the costs per tonne CO2 reduction is higher than for any other sector.
But look at it the other way. If freight is so inefficient and so prone to commercial pressures, doesn’t that provide the perfect conditions for change? The signs of change are on the wall: technological innovation, new business models for moving freight, and big data. And can’t climate ride that wave instead of going at it alone?
I believe carbon is the new currency and a truer measure of efficiency than costs. This makes climate an integral part of the business case for the transformation to a more efficient and sustainable sector.
We wrote our 'Smart Freight Leadersip' report for leaders, and especially business leaders, who believe that a more efficient freight and logistics sector goes hand in hand with greater competitiveness and environmental sustainability.
We call this smarter freight and SFC works with you to become Smart Freight Leaders. Together we can win this climate battle.
4 April 2017
Sophie Punte, Executive Director SFC
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