Less is more!

On April 22, 2016, the accession period began for the new global climate treaty. It will affect the basic conditions for transport and logistics. Compliance with lower CO2 emissions is both a challenge and an opportunity for the logistics industry. The date could not have been chosen better. April 22 is “Earth Day” as defined by the United Nations – an ideal date for the ceremony at the start of the accession period. Meanwhile, more than 170 nations and the European Union have signed the agreement, while even some have already deposited the ratification documents. The chances are that the global climate treaty will enter into force in 2020. Under the agreement, the international community is planning to limit global warming to well below two degrees, if possible, even to 1.5 degrees. These values relate to pre-industrial levels.

Potential and program

Even though traffic, transport and logistics are not expressly mentioned in the agreement, the goal can only be achieved if emissions in the logistics sector fall considerably too. This is feasible as both the transport means themselves as well as the processes still have much potential for reductions. “The Deutsche Post DHL Group recognized this potential at an early stage, and bundled the activities to protect the environment in 2008 in the GoGreen program,” explains Christoph Schönwandt, Head of Strategy & GoGreen DHL Freight. By 2020, the company expects to increase the CO2 efficiency of its transport services by 30 percent compared to 2007. “In 2015 we were able to reach an important milestone: Increasing efficiency by 25 percent. So we are on the right track“.

Energy and efficiency

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DHL Freight has put together a package of specific measures. Thus, the logistics company is already testing the use of alternative fuels from renewable raw materials. Hybrid drives are also an option. Add to that a particularly aerodynamic truck design and modified engines. In buildings the company is making use of energy control systems and efficient heating. The use of daylight, rainwater and renewable electricity also contributes to the reduction of the CO2 footprint. Network design is also well suited to implement CO2 efficiency. Here options range from measures to increase utilization to the reduction of trip lengths through intelligent location planning. “Even if most people would not necessarily associate the issue of network optimization with GoGreen, that is precisely where we see enormous improvement potential both on an environmental as well as a cost level,” explains Schönwandt. “Of course we are also there to support our business partners if they wish to implement more sustainable processes“.

Customers and costs

The Paris agreement can even provide an impetus to achieve customer proximity and cost efficiency at the same time: It is thus that green transport solutions can help logistics customers to achieve their environmental goals. Because, these can often be implemented faster than the ecological optimization of their production processes. The logistics companies themselves benefit from low resource consumption – thus providing direct cost savings. And to actively define and comply with one’s own high environmental standards is also a good way of preparing for possible regulatory changes. “Green innovations even include entire business areas,” sums up Christoph Schönwandt. “Because of the fine dust emissions it can be expected that conventional vehicles will be increasingly banned from more and more inner cities. Only those who meet the highest environmental standards can then continue delivering“.

Author: Jürgen Eschmeier

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