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EU LEARN Project affirms effectiveness of Carbon accounting for freight & logistics by companies

The Logistics Emissions Accounting and Reduction Network (LEARN) project has over the past 3 years mobilized businesses to calculate and report their carbon footprint across global logistics supply chains.

The Logistics Emissions Accounting and Reduction Network (LEARN) project has over the past 3 years mobilized businesses to calculate and report their carbon footprint across global logistics supply chains. At the project’s closing international workshop, held in Brussels this week, the LEARN project partners presented results, demonstrating that measurement of logistics and freight emissions works for business and is effective in informing decisions leading to improved efficiency and emissions reduction.

Freight and logistics generate around 7 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Companies are increasingly being asked to report and systematically reduce emissions, giving companies with a smaller carbon footprint a competitive advantage. “The EU’s ambition is to reduce transport emissions by 60% in 2050 compared to 1990,” said Magda Kopczynska, Director within the EU Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport. “Freight transportation cannot be ignored and collaboration between governments and the private sector is essential to achieve our targets.”

A key focus for the LEARN project has been to mobilize businesses to calculate and report logistics emissions through the use of the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) framework – a universal methodology that allows the calculation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the global multi-modal supply chain. The industry-backed GLEC Framework was successfully tested in practice by 30 companies as part of the LEARN project, representing both customers (shippers) and providers (carriers, operators) of freight and logistics services across modes. Feedback on how it can be improved will be reflected in the updated GLEC Framework due to be released mid-2019.

“Although the LEARN project is nearing its conclusion, the mission to decarbonize the global logistics sector is far from completed”, said Sophie Punte, Executive Director, Smart Freight Centre, the coordinator of GLEC and LEARN. “There is still considerable work to do. Better data exchange and the development of an ISO standard would greatly improve reporting. Calculation and reporting are only the precursors to committed, actionable steps to reduce carbon emissions.The private sector and other stakeholders need to continue to work closely together to advocate to get supporting governmental policy and research on the agenda.”

To underscore the importance of business leadership, the companies that participated in the LEARN project shared their experiences and benefits from logistics emissions accounting. Smart Freight Centre also recognized 10 companies, including DB Schenker, Deutsche Post DHL Group, The DOW Chemical Company, GEODIS, HEINEKEN, HP Inc.,Maersk, Trafigura, Volkswagen Konzernlogistik & Company X, who are demonstrating leadership in moving beyond reporting to implement solutions that reduce emissions, as well as collaborating and advocating for sector-wide action.

The conclusive workshop represented a valuable opportunity for a growing network of stakeholders from business, government, research and civil society to interact and advance accounting and reporting beyond the project. LEARN partners presented the GLEC Declaration, a major step forward in terms of requesting and reporting emissions figures in a single, standardized format, thus benefiting stakeholders through increase transparency. Other important topics for discussion included future research needs to advance emissions accounting, training and education of companies, integrating fuel and emissions into business management systems and an update on policy recommendations to stimulate business action. Stakeholders were encouraged continue to work together to maximize not only business uptake of carbon accounting, but to take practical next steps in emissions reduction and campaign for critical government policy development.