The 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held from November 6-17, 2017 in Bonn. According to WBCSD this COP helped shine a light on important aspects of climate resilience and adaptation that have not been as visible at previous COPs.
This year SFC participated in several freight-related events between 10-14 November. Below is a summary of our key takeaways.
1. Transportation is still not apparent enough on the agenda
Science-Based Targets (SBT) of companies and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of governments do not have clear plans to reduce freight emissions to meet the Paris Climate Agreement. There are various reasons for this but what is really missing is the urgency. Connecting health and environmental impacts of freight could help create the sense of urgency needed from governments and companies to focus on the reduction of GHGs and black carbon from logistics. Good examples are the BreatheLife campaign and the Global Green Freight Action Plan of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) that focus on black carbon and other air pollutants alongside GHGs. The Black Carbon Methodology for the Logistics Sector was developed by SFC with CCAC support as a supplement to the GLEC Framework for Logistics Emissions Methodologies that covers GHGs.
2. Leaders are needed to showcase collaboration within the supply chains
New public-private collaborations to reduce the impact of transportation were introduced including Transport Decarbonisation Alliance, SuM4All and the Ambition 1.5oC: Global Shipping’s Action Plan. What is clearly missing is collaborations between companies within their own and across multiple logistics supply chains, independently or through green freight programs. For B2B collaboration to work, at least three conditions must be met. As customers, leading multinationals hold the key to establish a collaborative environment and set clear expectations towards their logistics partners. Second, costs and benefits of emissions reduction efforts are to be shared to create a win-win collaboration. Finally, governments can learn from voluntary collaborations that work, and create additional incentives through programs, policies and regulations. A set of great examples of working partnerships is displayed in WBCSD's LTCPi 2017 Progress Report.
3. Urban freight is up and coming - unfortunately, so is free delivery
Urban freight is gaining more attention. At COP23, ICLEI launched its four-year EcoLogistics Project, where Smart Freight Centre is a partner organization. To manage the growing demand and impact of urban freight, there are four things cities need: harmonized method to calculate logistics emissions, guidance on urban freight plans, access to solutions that reduce emissions and examples, and most of all support and collaboration with governments, private sector and civil society. The number of companies offering ‘free delivery’ services is growing. Transportation is not for free as it has a huge environmental and health cost. Governments should consider mandating emissions disclosure of deliveries offered for free to educate consumers about the real impacts.
You can read our detailed COP23 report here.
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