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Leading multinationals embark on accelerating freight decarbonization in the Sustainable Freight Buyers Alliance

Amsterdam, 18 May 2022 - Alliance launches with members, including HP Inc., Nestlé, PepsiCo, P&G and Unilever committed to working together with cargo buyers, freight forwarders and freight initiatives to scale freight decarbonization projects for an emissions-free future

During Smart Freight Week 2022, the Sustainable Freight Buyers Alliance (SFBA) officially launched to unite freight buyers and freight decarbonization initiatives. Founded by Smart Freight Centre, BSR and the World Economic Forum, to bring about system change in the freight and logistics sector, SFBA is a valuable platform that enables concrete action by catalyzing collaboration, accommodating tools and solutions, and tracking and demonstrating progress. SFBA is set to accelerate the decarbonization of freight transport in line with a 1.5C future, and welcomed additional members including Brambles, Cargill, Mars and Tata Steel Netherlands which were announced during the launch.

Urgency for system change of freight sector


Decarbonizing freight transport is critical to achieving the global goals of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. During the SFBA launch, Alan McKinnon highlighted the urgency to act, as today logistics accounts for 11 to 12% of global energy-related CO2 emissions (IEA / ITF data). By 2050, direct CO2 emissions from freight transport are set to rise by 22% based on current policies. (ITF data)

It is increasingly clear that a radical shift towards decarbonizing the sector requires full value chain activation, technological innovation, a common measurement and evaluation system, and practical partnerships. Currently, freight buyers are presented with an overwhelming number of options from sustainable solution providers and, because of the challenges posed by individual efforts and the lack of relevant policy support, struggle to make meaningful decisions that result in impactful changes to the freight market.

The good news is that most of the freight buyers understand that they have to allocate relevant budget to decarbonize their supply chains, but resources are limited, hence they have to be used wisely. Roberta Barbieri, Vice President of Global Sustainability at PepsiCo stated that:

“Despite the fact that PepsiCo is faced with many challenges, like rising commodity prices, and the urgent need to reduce scope 1 emissions, the company continues to commit to investing in reducing scope 3 emissions, including freight.”


Uniting freight sector and freight decarbonization initiatives

SFBA aims to harness and centralize the effort and networks of SFC, BSR and the World Economic Forum, and green freight initiatives, like Clean Cargo, the Sustainable Air Freight Alliance and Road Freight Zero, to accelerate the transition to zero-emission freight and logistics. Key to SFBA is supply chain collaboration. Christoph Wolff, CEO of Smart Freight Centre: “United action is needed if we want to tackle climate change. This initiative underlines the vision for a joint effort that promotes collective actions between multiple transportation modes. I look forward to seeing this alliance impacting the bottom line of GHG emission reductions, ultimately accelerating the decarbonization of the freight industry worldwide.” Angie Farrag-Thibault, Freight Decarbonization Lead at the World Economic Forum said “SFBA builds from the momentum and hard work of committed first movers across the value-chain over the past decade. It marks a maturity shift in both actualizing the demand signal of big brand buyers and the effective collaboration between key sustainability organizations, with one shared mission: to decarbonize freight.”

While the first members of SFBA are leading multinationals, the initiative will provide support to those companies too that are new to the topic of sustainable freight. Eszter Tóth-Weedon, the director of SFBA: “Via SFBA’s solutions hub, we will help companies to make well-informed freight procurement decisions linked to relevant solutions, while also considering the delicate balance between short and long-term decarbonization goals.”
There was much to celebrate
Our new CEO, Christoph Wolff, sharing his thoughts on the SFBA launch
SFBA: enabling pragmatic, on the ground collaboration

By cultivating a membership of green freight buyers, SFBA will catalyze impactful projects and grow them to scale, offering the partner network, the tools, aspirations and stage for tracking and demonstrating progress and results. SFBA’s action-oriented mentality is emphasized by Bram Keteleer, Global Transportation Sustainability Director for Procter & Gamble, one of SFBA’s founding members:

“We need to get going: together and simultaneously. SFBA connects the right parties to collaborate in pragmatic, concrete projects.”
David Wei, Managing Director, Climate at BSR, adds: “SFBA is a first-of-its-kind, inclusive endeavor to convene cargo carriers, shippers, service providers and buyers to advance global freight decarbonization efforts. All cargo shippers are welcome as long as they take collaborative action and comply with required reporting on emissions progress.”

First steps and long-term vision


The launch offered new and potential SFBA members a taste of the kind of knowledge and experience they can expect to share through SFBA networking sessions and solutions hub, including sharing how to tackle the many challenges in the transition to emission-free.

In the coming weeks, SFBA is looking forward to attracting and welcoming more members to grow the platform and initiate projects. The companies of SFBA’s Founders Circle have already started to identify some common regions where many of them look to deploy similar solutions, such as electric trucks and charging stations and green shipping corridors. Discussions will continue with the extended group of members with the goal of jointly committing to new projects and scaling up existing efforts. Leveraging the network of SFC, BSR, the World Economic Forum and SFBA Members, relevant SFBA partners will be identified to guide and to execute these projects. Partners like carriers, logistics service providers, technology and fuel providers, and academia will be crucial enablers to identify and execute concrete collaboration projects.

“I see a future where SFBA becomes the place for sustainable freight buyers to unite and collaborate with freight suppliers. By harnessing the leadership of SFBA companies, We Mean Business Coalition and partners can go to policymakers to advocate for policies that accelerate climate action and halve emissions by 2030,” said Sophie Punte, Managing Director of Policy, We Mean Business Coalition, during the SFBA launch.


Media contacts

Smart Freight Centre:
Maartje Steenvoorden (maartje.steenvoorden@smartfreightcentre.org)

BSR: Lauren Silverman, (lsilverman@bsr.org)

WEF: Jiten Vyakarnam, jiten.vyakarnam@weforum.org
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