Case studies

Implementing the GLEC Framework at Kemira

Finnish chemical company Kemira implemented the GLEC Framework as a methodology to determine its outbound logistics emissions in just six months. The key to its success was taking a systematic yet pragmatic approach, working with a team of university students to build an in-house system to calculate and report emissions. This complemented advice from Smart Freight Centre on how to best apply the GLEC Framework to Kemira’s logistics operations.

Company description

Kemira is a global chemicals company serving customers in water-intensive industries. We provide products and expertise to improve our customers’ sustainability, product quality, process and resource efficiency. Our focus is on pulp and paper, oil and gas and water treatment. In 2018, Kemira’s CO2e emissions from transport were 557 tonnes, accounting for 30% of the company’s Scope 3 emissions or 20% of its total CO2e emissions.

The challenge

As described in its 2019 sustainability report, Kemira is committed to reducing its greenhouse (GHG) emissions throughout its operations and supply chain. Part of that effort includes measuring and reducing transportation emissions in its supply chain.

Kemira chose to implement the GLEC Framework as part of its strategy to apply consistent carbon accounting principles across transportation modes and geographies and to obtain actionable insights that can ultimately be used to lower Kemira’s climate impact.

What did Kemira do?

The purpose of this project was to build a calculating and reporting process that Kemira could operate independently in future, without outside help. Kemira’s core team came from Supply Chain Management and Finance with other functions consulted as needed. Kemira used a group of students from Aalto University in Helsinki to lead the project and develop an approach to data collection and calculation. SFC ensured alignment with the GLEC Framework and provided advice on reporting and benchmarking.

The first step for Kemira staff and the students was to understand the GLEC Framework by taking SFC’s on-line training and discussing specific questions with SFC experts . Next, the team developed a data collection and emissions calculation approach for Kemira’s road, rail and sea transport.

For each transportation mode, the project team defined what factors contribute to the amount of emissions produced, such as distance traveled, weight carried, the type of equipment, fuel, and load. The team identified where the data for these different factors could be obtained.

The transportation mode, equipment, shipment weights and distance came from Kemira’s own transport management systems based on information shared by logistics service providers and carriers. Carbon intensity factors (CO2e/tonne-kilometer) to estimate the emissions from the various shipments came from green freight programs such as Clean Cargo for sea container shipping, US EPA SmartWay for road, along with the average carbon intensity factors from the GLEC Framework for other modes, logistics sites and regions.

Finally, decisions were made on the assumptions specific to Kemira’s transportation supply chain, such as the type of rail transport and intermodal splits. Terms and definitions used internally were checked for consistency with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and GLEC Framework.


Kemira now has an internal calculator to find its GHG emissions from freight transportation and logistics, as well as a reporting protocol for internal and external purposes. This system can be rolled out across Kemira’s global operations, and managed and improved in time by Kemira staff independently.

An internal report was prepared based on the application of the GLEC Framework to the company’s logistics supply chain. This provided Kemira with data on absolute emissions and carbon intensities of its freight and logistics activities per mode and region. The detailed breakdown of its emissions profile helps Kemira understand the differences between modes, carriers and over time, and identify opportunities for efficiency improvements and emission reductions.

Kemira is now better able to report logistics emissions to customers, in annual reporting and on other platforms such as CDP in a consistent and comparable way. More reliable data allows Kemira to take another step closer to joining the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) since quantifying Scope 3 emissions is currently a challenge that must be overcome.

Lessons learned

When beginning your logistics carbon accounting journey, it is important to realize that there is a trade-off between accuracy and practicability. It is not always necessary to dive into the deep end when you begin to calculate your logistics emissions. Starting off by mapping emissions per mode and region can help you to determine a baseline. From there you can work on refining the system, getting better data, identify concrete solutions to reduce emissions, and set reduction targets.

What is important is that a company works towards a workable system to collect data, calculate and report emissions, and use results. Depending on the in-house technical expertise available, you can set it up and run it yourself or bring in external consultants to build or run the system. This project benefited from the technical support of Aalto University students and SFC to design and set up the system.
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