What solutions to reduce the carbon impact of its shipments?

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Freight transport in Europe represents 40% of global transport-related CO2 emissions.

In a context of climate crisis and consequent efforts to limit its consequences, companies must become aware of the environmental impact of their logistics activities and undertake a decarbonization process.

From this point of view, it is advisable to integrate the ecological impact of shipments into a sustainable development strategy. And to implement concrete solutions in order to reduce its transport CO2 emissions.

Decarbonization of transport: the major challenges facing companies

It’s a fact: freight transport accounts for a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions of companies. It is no longer possible to ignore the environmental impact of transport activities, as organizations are subject to ever-increasing demands from their stakeholders:

  • Public opinion is increasingly attentive to the initiatives taken by professionals in this regard.
  • Customers are more sensitive to this. Including in B2B (integration of “carbon criteria” in specifications). And they are increasingly well informed (thanks to existing and emerging labels).
  • Shareholders are concerned about preserving the value of the companies in which they have invested.
  • Employees are interested in the actions implemented by their employers. And the “ecological criterion” is becoming a factor weighing on the decision making of recruitment candidates.
  • Lobby groups are taking targeted action to get organizations to make decisions.
  • The government is gradually taking measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions. For example: the Grenelle. II introduced the obligation for companies with more than 500 employees in metropolitan France to carry out a CO2 emissions assessment (see the Ademe website).

In this context, companies are encouraged to act and reduce their CO2 transport emissions. Not only to protect the environment (which is, in itself, essential), but also to:

  • remain competitive,
  • mobilize their employees,
  • and to improve their operational performance.

However, a simple complacent look at the logistics processes is not enough. It is necessary to:

  • commit to an extended perimeter,
  • take into account the entire supply chain (from upstream to downstream),
  • highlight the transport flows that are usually left in the dark and which have a significant carbon impact.

This is the sine qua non for having a positive impact on transport CO2 emissions and making a real difference.

Reducing CO2 emissions from transport: three priority areas for action

Given the complexity of flows, processes and measurement systems, it is necessary to focus efforts to reduce transport CO2 emissions on three priority areas:

Limit the carbon footprint of shipments.

This is the most obvious area of action at first glance. The one on which it may seem simplest to act. It is important to know that the mode of transport alone has a huge influence on the volumes of greenhouse gases emitted.

The orders of magnitude are as follows: for 1 ton of goods transported over 1 kilometer, the boat emits 3 grams of CO2, the train 18 grams, the truck 47 grams, and the plane… 560 grams!

Switching to less polluting modes of transport such as boat or train can therefore significantly reduce CO2 emissions from transport. There are also other levers such as:

  • the implementation of less emitting technologies (LNG or hydrogen),
  • the adoption of eco-driving,
  • etc.

Optimize the “transportation” function to reduce its size.

A good way to limit transport CO2 emissions is to reduce the size of your shipments by optimizing the components of your logistics chain: route planning, stricter vehicle filling, pooling of resources, etc.

Reduce your needs.

To reduce CO2 transport emissions, it is also possible to limit your needs. Easier said than done? However, an in-depth analysis of logistics plans, with the help of partners and the participation of customers, can significantly reduce transport needs.

Set up an action plan to limit the CO2 emissions of its shipments

Once the areas have been identified, the next step is to set up a relevant action plan to measure its transport CO2 emissions and take concrete action. This plan can be developed in four steps:

  1. Measure its transport CO2 emissions: volumes, distribution by flow, current transport modes, needs, logistics flows to be taken into account (upstream supplier, intra-company flows, downstream customer, etc.).
  2. Set reduction targets by identifying priority areas in order to know exactly where to act and what levers can be used.
  3. Choose the relevant levers. From a detailed vision of the flows and CO2 transport emissions, it becomes possible to distribute its action according to its activity on the levers which count the most (volumes of shipments, mileage, price per ton of CO2, transport turnover…).
  4. Activate the levers according to its needs and ambitions (which must however remain realistic). And monitor the results of the decarbonization actions implemented (without hesitating to communicate internally and externally).

To bring this action plan to life, and thus take tangible action on transport CO2 emissions, it is nonetheless essential to use dedicated technological tools such as those offered by DDS Logistics, like the “Green Move” calculator, which allows you to:

  • measure,
  • track,
  • and reduce the carbon emissions associated with the transport activity according to the modes of travel used.

However, a significant and lasting reduction in transport CO2 emissions requires a global optimization of the supply chain in order to reduce needs and improve the efficiency of logistics flows, which can only be achieved with a TMS management software.

The virtues of this tool are not only ecological. The benefits are also felt in terms of productivity, customer satisfaction and savings. In short, it is a way to reduce both CO2 emissions and costs!