FAQ GLEC Framework

  • 1. How can I combine the emissions from different elements of a multi-modal journey?

    The first step is to define the transport chain and the elements that make up the multi-modal journey. An element can be defined as the part of the shipment’s journey, where the shipment is transported, handled or stored within one mode of transport or in one transhipment centre. Generally when a shipment changes vehicles then this can be consider the end of one element and the start of a new element. The principle that the emissions of each transport element when added together equal the total emissions from the transport chain or multi-modal journey. This GLEC Framework approach is aligned with the approach of the GHG Protocol with the aim that elements are treated separately but applying the same principles to each element and summed to form a total carbon emissions footprint or reviewed separately as an “itemised list”. 

  • 2. What are the basic calculation steps for carriers?

    1.  Collect fuel data - for all vehicles (any means of transport which can be vessels – watercraft and aircraft i.e. ships, boats and planes) transporting freight for a 12 month period. This should be based on individual vehicle fueling records obtained from fuel management or fuel accounting systems etc.

    2.  Collect data on total tonne kilometers of freight transported, which is a measure of transport work done.
    This should be based on carriers’ detailed consignment and delivery records or general statistics for each relevant shipper:
       • Total distance travelled
       • Total tonnes transported – for the given shipper/customer
       • Average load factor, including the distance run empty

    3.  Calculate the consumption factor as: 


    (See question about Consumption Factor for more information)

  • 3. As a carrier, how do I calculate a consumption factor?

    You need to collect your fuel data either from vehicle consumption records, purchase invoices or other suitable records.  Although from a scientific perspective fuel should be measured by mass, it is accepted common practice to measure liquid fuels in litres.

    You also need to calculate the tonne kilometres delivered by your vehicles (remember this is not just total tonnes shifted by total distance driven).  If you are unsure about tonne kilometres then start by referring to the guidance in section 5.3.1 of the GLEC Framework for an explanation of the basic calculation.

  • 4. I am reluctant to give my consumption factor to my customer. Is there another way of forwarding the necessary emission information to my customer?

    The consumption factor concept may be used by green freight programs or government reporting templates as a common unit by which performance is measured and subsequently turned into an emissions performance value. Therefore if your company is participating in a green freight program it is likely that this information is being used in this form. That said, if you think it is commercially sensitive then it may be possible either go to further with the calculation and provide an emissions/t.km value, or to provide the data in an alternative format – some independent calculation providers work in this way. However, this would require some form of verification that the appropriate emissions factors are been used for the output to be accepted. There are commercial verification service providers that could do this for you.

  • 5. What are the basic calculation steps for shippers?

    1.  Request carriers to provide the consumption factor relevant to each of the transport services and transport legs that they provide (e.g. via contract, supplier business requirements etc.)

    2.  Calculate the tonne kilometers of freight transport purchased from each carrier, split out by
    Transport Service Category (TSC)

    3.  Multiply t/km by the consumption factor to calculate the energy used for each TSC

    4.  Multiply energy by the emission factor for each fuel type used to calculate the emissions for each TSC

    5.  Add together emissions for all TSCs to calculate total company emissions from freight transport

  • 6. As a shipper, how do I use a consumption factor in my calculations?

    You need to know your transport activity or tonnekm transported and use this in conjunction with the appropriate consumption factor given in the following calculation:

    Amount of energy/fuel = tonnekm x consumption factor

    Then in order to calculate CO2e emissions the amount of fuel/energy used is multiplied by the appropriate WTW CO2e emission factor (kg CO2e/kg fuel).

  • 7. What if my carriers can’t provide me a consumption factor to use?

    If your carriers cannot provide you with a consumption factor then there is the possibility to use default consumption factors to estimate emissions associated with your cargo transport activities. This will mean an element of averaging will take place and the ability to differentiate your carriers’ performance will be lost, along with some potential to identify emission reduction opportunities.

  • 8. When will air pollutants (PM, NOx etc) be incorporated into the GLEC Framework? And how will these air pollutants be incorporated?

    At present the GLEC Framework is focused on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reporting in the form of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). Reporting the emissions will help in taking actions to mitigate emissions related to climate change. Another concern related to emissions from freight logistics operations and particularly in urban environments are the emissions of air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). These emissions are linked to impacts of human health and eco-systems with research also indicating potential climate change effects of “short lived climate forcers” such as black carbon. Future versions of the GLEC Framework will consider air pollutants in addition to GHG emissions however adequately quantifying these emissions is a more complex process as they are cannot be directly derived and attributable to fuel consumption or energy use. The scale of these emissions will depend on parameters such as vehicle maintenance and how and where the vehicles or vessels are driven and whether any systems such as retrofitted emission control systems, for example diesel particulate filters (DPFs), exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or selective catalytic reduction (SCR) are fitted. To include air pollutants in any emissions reporting framework will lead to a greater level of data and detail being required at vehicle, vessel or engine level.

  • 9. What training is available for my company and my transport service providers?

    SFC is currently working on guidance documentation related to the GLEC Framework and as part of the EC Horizon 2020 funded LEARN Project training materials related to logistics emissions accounting will be developed and trialled within both cargo owner or purchaser of transport services (shipper) and fleet operator (carriers) sectors.

  • 10. Will the GLEC Framework become a standard?

    The GLEC Framework is not considered to be a standard at the this moment in time but with an aim to move this to an industry standard will take place as more and more companies adopt the GLEC Framework. Both SFC and the GLEC see the standardisation bodies as key stakeholders and will work with these bodies to ensure that any future standards are harmonised with the GLEC Framework. There has already been discussion on this subject with the ISO International Workshop Agreement that took place in 2014 and led by the German Standards Institute (DIN). The need for an international or ISO standard will come from the industry and GLEC is well placed to influence the standard setting process. There is currently a European CEN standard (EN 16258) however the nature of supply chains is global and any future standards would need to reflect this global approach.

  • 11. Are governments going to adopt the GLEC Framework?

    The work of the Smart Freight Centre and the GLEC is industry led; however key stakeholders within this arena are regional and national governments so consultation with these bodies is key to ensure that any government backed initiatives do not re-invent or create new methodologies that may negate the progress towards harmonisation that is key for the global freight logistics industry.

  • 12. How is the GLEC Framework different from the US EPA SmartWay Partnership?

    The GLEC Framework has many similarities to the US EPA SmartWay program as the SmartWay approach was used as a base methodology for the GLEC Framework. However at the time of developing the GLEC Framework there were modes that were not covered in the SmartWay program or other methodologies existed that were more mature in application or adoption so were considered “closer to market”. The US EPA SmartWay program is represented within the GLEC and harmonisation between regional programs and initiatives is considered mutually beneficial.

  • 13. How can my auditor assure that my logistics emissions data is based on the GLEC Framework?

    Within the GLEC it is recognised that to aid assurance and trust around any emissions declarations made according to the GLEC Framework will mean some form of verification process. To help consistency in any verification activity conducted by independent third parties a comprehensive set of criteria and guidance for verifiers will be developed. This development will be one area of research, investigation and consultation with the logistics industry, standards setting community and GHG verification sector within the EC Horizon 2020 funded LEARN Project.

  • 14. How do the GLEC Framework, calculation tools, green freight programs and the LEARN project complement each other?

    The GLEC Framework is a global standard methodology framework to enable calculation of GHG emissions consistently across the global logistics supply chain. The components that comprise the GLEC Framework can be embedded in green freight programs (such as SmartWay or Lean and Green) and calculation tools (such as EcoTransIT and Lean and Green Analytics). The proposed levels of data maturity and overall conformance with the Framework (entry - bronze/silver/gold - platinum) that are proposed for a GLEC Framework assurance scheme are consistent with the Lean and Green program

    The LEARN project builds on and seeks to improve the GLEC Framework and supplements what happens in green freight programs and with calculation tools. A key activity is testing and validating logistics emissions measurement, verification and reporting with companies through ‘test beds’. Participating companies fall into two groups: newcomers and advanced companies. First, newcomers want to learn how emissions accounting using the GLEC Framework works. Second, more advanced companies can run a test bed to assess specific elements of emissions accounting, e.g. how to treat distances or include transhipment centers. Therefore, companies that are members of green freight programs like Lean and Green or SmartWay can also participate in LEARN when they have a specific challenge with emissions accounting or if they want to introduce partners/carriers to emissions accounting who have not had a previous exposure.

    Results from LEARN test beds will feed into developing the GLEC Framework 2.0. Results will also be used to improve how emissions are reflected in labels (such as those used by green freight programs), develop training courses for businesses and other stakeholders, and give recommendations for supportive policy and research. LEARN partners work closely with related organizations, initiatives and already existing networks to maximize business uptake of carbon accounting and reduction.





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