Deutsche Post DHL & Smart Freight Centre Freight Transportation
new pathway to freight decarbonization – carbon insetting. A jointly developed white paper, “Carbon Insets for the Logistics Sector”, recommends an innovative approach for allocating funds to decarbonization projects in the logistics industry. By unlocking this vital resource, a significant lever would be created to support the technological shift towards greener logistics. Ample solutions already exist, such as sustainable fuel, fleet renewal, engine retrofitting, and efficiency projects. These investments would not only be a highly efficient way to decarbonize the transport sector, but also result in structural improvements of the entire logistics supply chain in the long run.
Freight transportation is currently responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions (11% if emissions from logistics sites are included). Recent studies by the International Transport Forum forecast these emissions to double by 2050 as demand is anticipated to grow threefold in this period. Climate action by companies is largely voluntary and lacks coordination and thus the pace of freight decarbonization is too slow. Some freight operators mitigate part of their transportation emissions by investing in carbon offsets, such as in forestry projects. In 2018, only 0.2% of the USD 268 million voluntary carbon offset market went into transport-related projects. Funds spent outside the transport sector are meaningful but will not help to advance the decarbonization of the global freight transportation network itself.
The types of projects that could be applied at scale are numerous: the scaling of alternative, sustainable fuels, fleet renewal or engine retrofits can upgrade transportation networks with lower carbon technologies. Improving the efficiency of shipments leads to reduced fuel consumption and avoids excess emissions. All these approaches provide meaningful reductions in climate impact, as well as benefits for public health and safety and therefore do not only contribute to achieving the Paris Agreement, but also support the Sustainable Development Goals.