Taking corporate leadership on sustainable logistics to Davos

7 January 2020 - By Sophie Punte, Executive Director, Smart Freight Centre

Have you also noticed how quickly climate change has risen on the political agenda last year? Leaders from government, business and civil society are gathering at the World Economic Forum in Davos from 21-24 January to discuss pressing global issues, and you can bet that climate change is one of them (this year they even want Davos 2020 to be carbon neutral)! For some it is on the agenda by choice – the European Green Deal put climate change on the forefront of EU policy while more than 750 companies are setting reduction targets, for others by necessity – Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison sees his denial that climate change is real literally going up in flames right now.

It’s clear that we need leadership across the board: all players, all countries, all sectors. I joined the WEF’s Global Future Council on Mobility a few years back because I felt the need to bring both freight transportation and corporate leadership to the attention of global leaders. So I’m really proud that we’ve come out with a compendium of 18 cases of companies that move their staff or their goods more sustainably. Five of these focus on freight (for full stories click here), which have one thing in common: collaboration!

DB Schenker
reduced emissions per tonne-km by 26.6% from 2006 to 2019 by working together with its 40,000 suppliers worldwide. Good measurement, targets broken down by modes and a clear action plan did the job. Solutions covered all modes: fleet modernization and eco-driving for road freight, vessel size, fuel and route optimization for marine freight, fleet modernization and operational improvements for air, and electricity and heating reduction for logistics sites.

Gati and IKEA
collaborate to reduce the carbon footprint and local air pollution by using electric cargo rickshaws for last-mile delivery. Until end 2019, more than 10,000 packages were delivered to customers, representing 17% of Gati’s deliveries for IKEA. This will be expanded with vans and trucks that can carry up to 10 m3 as these become available and affordable. Their commitment under the EV100 campaign: 100% electric delivery services by 2030!

transports crude oil, petroleum products and other goods via the Magdalena River instead of using trucks on a stretched road network. Working closely with the Colombian government and local partners, a new inland river port was built and more than 100 barges and 18 pushers replace the 228 trucks needed for the 658 km journey to Colombian sea ports. Emissions were cut by 36% and could reach 1 million tonnes over a decade.

set up a “rolling laboratory” to develop and scale alternative fuels and vehicle technologies together with fuel suppliers, manufacturers and other stakeholders. Three solutions jump out: natural renewable gas, the switch to electric trucks (accelerated with the help of manufacturers ARRIVAL, Tesla, TEVVA and others), and more than 30 innovative last mile delivery projects. Emissions per tonne-km are 16.5% lower than in 2007.

Volkswagen Group Logistics
aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 but is also looking what can be done today. Two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered ships were built to transport cars between Europe and North America. Expected emission reductions compared to heavy fuel oil are up to 25% CO2, 30% NOx, 60% particulate matter and 100% SOx. A key to success is collaboration with transport providers, fuel companies, vessel producers, municipalities and certification companies.

Smart Freight Centre works with these and other leaders who report logistics emissions using the GLEC Framework (DB Schenker, Trafigura and Volkswagen), joined our Smart Freight Alliance in China to take action (IKEA), and invest in training of road freight carriers on fleet energy management (UPS). While Davos will help these and other companies take the stage, we’ll also continue to publish our own leadership stories, 9 last year and will be adding another 25 this year. Our aim? To inspire more companies to develop their own roadmap to report emissions and improve their performance!

Develop your Sustainable Logistics Roadmap

Sign up to register for a 10-session e-training course to develop or improve your company’s own roadmap. Starting March 2020!