Haulage operators looking to reduce their C02 emissions are being urged to check out an independent voluntary programme for improving environmental performance of road freight transport across Europe. The Green Freight Europe programme fosters reductions of carbon emissions by:
1. Establishing a platform for companies to monitor and report their carbon emissions in a standard format, aiding comparability of results with those of others to assist in sustainable procurement decisions on the right transportation services to choose from.
2. Promoting collaboration between carriers and shippers which itself drives improvements and monitors progress made.
3. Establishing a certification system to reward shippers and carriers who fully participate in the programme.
4. Validating technologies for what they can actually provide by way of CO2 reductions, providing a virtual shop window on the different technologies, and presenting opportunities for obtaining cheaper finance to encourage investments in emission-reducing technologies and practices.
It is also the platform for companies to share best practices, promote innovations and communicate sustainability improvements to European road freight.
Furthermore the programme is recognised by and fosters cooperation with other related initiatives, programmes and working groups globally, such as the US Smartway programme and Green Freight Asia Network.
The Platform is fully compliant with international standards and guidelines (including the European standards organisation, CEN, and the Green House Gas Protocol).
The European Shippers’ Council in partnership with Dutch shippers’ organisation EVO, provides the secretariat for the programme, and the UK-based Energy Saving Trust provides the measuring, monitoring and reporting tool. GFE is a not-for-profit organisation, registered in Belgium.
What’s stopping the haulage industry from joining?
Green Freight Europe (GFE) currently has over 70 members. The majority of these are medium to large companies, mostly manufacturers and logistics service providers. The pure haulage sector seems less willing at present to join: the reasons behind their reluctance or hesitation may be due to a number of factors:
A focus on short term survival rather than longer term sustainability.
A concern that too much visibility of their emissions will reveal too much about their fuel consumption and costs that may, in turn, expose them to tougher negotiations on their rates.
A lack of awareness about the programme.
Mistakenly thinking the GFE programme is only for large companies and only for international road freight operations and shipments.
The cost of joining and the cost of investing in cleaner technologies
Concern over the resources required to collect and input required data
GFE is intended to help all haulage companies which join; help by way of:
reducing emissions to comply with the growing number of emissions-based controls on their road freight transport operations
lowering their operating costs – NOT their prices providing the visibility of their emissions and trust over their calculation, which encourages better understanding for their customers as to the environmental impact their demands cause building longer-term sustainability for their businesses, making them more attractive to clients looking for longer term business relationships and which can help them meet their corporate and social responsibility requirements
The cost of joining is proportionate to annual turnover; it is free for small companies with an annual turnover of less than €2.5million. The costs should be far less than the rewards – commercial and environmental, which the programme could deliver.
The CO2 calculation tool is built to accommodate those who either have limited transport data or those who have actual fuel consumption per tonne or parcel. Where information available is limited, the calculation uses government and international standard organisations approved assumptions and emission conversion factors. The more information the better the accuracy score will be, but everyone should be able to derive at least an estimated performance score.
Data can be input for any part of a member’s operation, by product, by route, by customer, by vehicle type…whatever and however one chooses is best. All data is confidential to the member that inputs the data. All results are similarly confidential too. What each of the members chooses to do with it, how it is used, is entirely their individual choice.
In the near future, the programme will also cover other modes of freight transport. For now, this is a programme for all carriers, whether engaged in domestic or international road freight transport operations. We are building support from the European Commission and national governments, agencies and Non Governmental Organisations, who see us for what we are…an industry-led programme which can drive down emissions, drive up efficiency, and contribute positively to the economy and the environment.
Further information can be obtained by visiting Frequently Asked Questions from the GFE website, or by contacting GFE’s Advisor, Dr Andrew Traill: firstname.lastname@example.org.