Case studies

Flexport: Unified methodology in logistics emissions calculation tool through SFC Accreditation to the GLEC Framework

Flexport’s Carbon Calculator allows companies to easily assess the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint from the transportation of their goods across all modes. To promote a unified methodology in the calculation outputs, and to respond to increased demand from their customers, Flexport’s tool was accredited by Smart Freight Centre (SFC). All calculated emissions produced by Flexport’s technology are in conformance with the GLEC Framework.

Company description

Flexport is an international, technology-based freight forwarder that serves almost 10,000 clients and suppliers across more than 200 countries. The Flexport Platform supports a full range of services, including ocean, air, truck and rail freight, drayage and cartage, warehousing, and customs brokerage.


The challenge

Flexport introduced their first-in-class Carbon Calculator tool in 2017 to afford any company measurement of their global shipping environmental footprint. Flexport believes this capability is table stakes for companies looking to achieve global reduction targets. At no cost, all Flexport customers can access their GHG footprint for individual shipments, or can use dynamic reporting and analytics views to compare performance by mode, destination or supplier.

In 2020, Flexport opened up their technology to allow any shipper to use the calculator through Flexport.org’s Impact Dashboard, or via a free API, to calculate emissions from freight and parcel shipments not managed by Flexport. Flexport wanted to be confident that all of these calculations were based on a globally recognized methodology for calculating and reporting emissions that works for the logistics sector.

What was done?


GHG calculation methodologies can vary widely across the logistics industry. However, to make genuine progress for global GHG reductions, it is important for companies to be working with comparable approaches from the start. This is why Flexport concluded that the GLEC Framework, developed by SFC together with the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC), is the leading global methodology to calculate and report logistics emissions, backed by the logistics industry and recognized by the GHG Protocol.

Flexport worked with SFC to carry out the accreditation of their Carbon Calculator:

1) An initial assessment of Flexport’s existing Carbon Calculator was done, including emissions for each mode and factors taken into account to be translated into the GLEC methodology.

2) Flexport.org’s product manager developed product requirements using the GLEC methodologies and default emission factors, then worked closely with the Flexport.org engineering team to implement changes into the code that built the calculator.

3) With the support of SFC experts, the new Carbon Calculator following the GLEC Framework was integrated into Flexport’s tools, available for Flexport users and for any shipper via API.
“Easy and reliable greenhouse gas (GHG) calculations are paramount as companies double down on GHG reduction targets. Our Carbon Calculator allows any company, our customer or not, to quickly assess logistics emissions on The Flexport Platform with a few clicks, making measurement easy. The GLEC Framework addresses reliability by holding our calculations to a world standard of accuracy. That's why our partnership is so powerful.”
- Kathleen Hegyesi, Sr. Program Manager, Flexport.org

Results

The accreditation process, supported by SFC experts, allowed Flexport to align their existing functionality and calculation methodology with the guidance in the GLEC Framework. Through SFC Accreditation and powerful technology, Flexport can meet their client’s needs, whether they’re unfamiliar with GHG calculations or have sophisticated climate models and targets.

Conclusions

SFC Accreditation ensures that Flexport Carbon Calculator users can calculate their logistics-based emissions quickly and easily – using the Flexport Platform – with confidence that the calculation approach is aligned with a global industry standard, the GLEC Framework. This also aligns with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, UN-led Green Freight Action Plan, and CDP reporting. The partnership should make more measurable emissions-reduction programs possible, one of Flexport’s ultimate goals.
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