The Impact of COP26 on Logistics

We have reached a pivotal moment in our fight against climate change and big changes will come in the next three decades to protect our planet. With COP26 fresh in our minds, we take a look at how the logistics sector is likely to adapt as we transition to net zero emissions.

The Decarbonisation of Transport

Transportation is the fastest growing source of global emissions, currently responsible for around 24% of carbon emissions. As a result, the decarbonisation of transport was a key focus for COP26, with a full day being dedicated to the subject. Due to the huge growth of the eCommerce sector over the past two decades, road transport alone accounts for 10% of global emissions, highlighting an enormous challenge for the logistics sector.

COP26 Targets

Whilst the shift to zero-tailpipe-emission vehicles is already underway, the agreements made at COP26 will provide a much-needed boost in momentum. To meet the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, a rapid transition to zero-emission vehicles is required. The environmental effect of cars, vans, buses, and trucks must all be addressed to phase out the use of fossil fuels and revolutionise transport.

The transition to zero emission vehicles has been accelerated by COP26, with a goal set to “work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and no later than 2035 in leading markets.” Some of the world’s largest car manufacturers attended the conference, and agreed to adhere to this goal, meaning the UK logistics sector will see a sharp increase in electric vehicles over the next 25 years.

Net Zero Strategy

In the UK government’s Net Zero Strategy, numerous funding measures were set out to support the decarbonisation of supply chains. An additional £350 million has been pledged to support the long-term electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, plus £620 million worth of electric vehicle grants.

The strategy also states that three zero-emission HGV technologies will be trialled at scale on UK roads to determine their effectiveness. HGVs are the backbone of the logistics sector, and are responsible for mobilising goods throughout the UK. Due to their widespread use, HGVs were responsible for 18% of UK road transport emissions. During Transport Day at COP26, the government confirmed that all HGVs in the UK will be zero emission by 2040.

Courier Companies Must Go Green

Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact of home delivery on climate change, and the wide media coverage of COP26 has further raised this awareness. It seems likely that this will result in increasing customer expectations of courier companies to switch to zero-emission vehicles as soon as possible. 

To make the transition to clean transport, and reduce their carbon footprint, most UK courier companies are already investing in the many fossil-free technologies already available.

Courier companies are doing the following to reduce their carbon footprints:

  • Investing in electric vehicles.
  • Expanding fleet-on-the-street staff.
  • Investing in gas-powered trucks.
  • Equipping vehicles with telemetry technology that promotes fuel-efficient driving.
  • Funding clean energy projects to offset emissions.
  • Ensuring delivery trucks are filled to capacity.

Energy-Efficient Warehouses

Although vehicles are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions produced by the logistics sector, distribution centres, offices, and other buildings also have an impact. It is therefore vitally important that logistics companies transform their warehouses, to ensure that carbon emissions are as low as possible.

Simple changes, such as switching to a green energy supplier, and replacing traditional lights with LEDs, can result in huge reductions in emissions. Actively trying to reduce waste, increase recycling, limiting the amount of paperwork, and reduce packaging during order fulfilment, will create more sustainable warehouses.

Green Supply Chains

Emissions produced by logistics companies could be significantly reduced by transitioning to green suppliers. Some logistics companies are already switching to suppliers who employ eco-friendly practices to reduce their environmental impact during manufacturing. Supply chains can be transformed through the use of sustainable products which have a lower impact on the environment and often require less power in their production.

Summary

Following COP26, legislation is gravitating towards sustainable solutions, and consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally minded. At EC Group, we use our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System to manage the immediate and long-term environmental impacts of our operations. Whether by introducing new technology, using recycled or recyclable materials, or managing our stock more efficiently, we are always looking for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

To minimise our impact on the environment and help our customers do the same, we only work with the greenest courier companies and suppliers. We’ve recently installed 4 EV charging points at our state-of-the-art facility to support our transition to electric vehicles and encourage our staff to make the switch too.

Get in touch today to talk to a member of our friendly team about partnering with a green logistics company.

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