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Green logistics for 30% carbon footprint reduction

DHL transportation sets carbon offset goals with sustainable logistics program

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DPWN sets Green logistics goals for 30% carbon footprint reduction through ‘GoGreen’ initiative for sustainable transportation and logistics processes

DHL's parent company is putting a "tire on the road" for environmental best practices as well as transportation and logistics sustainability, Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN) has rolled out an initiative focused on reducing its carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2020.

DPWN’s initiative, entitled the “GoGreen Program,” will focus on reducing its carbon footprint for every letter mailed, container shipped, and meter of warehouse space used, the company said. Several measures are being adopted to reach its proposed 30% carbon footprint reduction goal by 2020.

A logistics company with more than 500,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories, DPWN has acknowledged their responsibility to use their core competencies to benefit society and to minimize the impact on the environment. DPWN launched its sustainability activities in 2001 and its climate protection program in February of 2008.   

Steps to reduce its carbon footprint

  • Replace 90% of its air fleet with modern, more fuel efficient aircraft, including 48 Boeing 757 Special Freighter modern cargo aircraft, which require 20 percent less fuel per ton transported than the Boeing 727 predecessors;
  • Add aerodynamic winglets to cargo aircraft to increase the amount of lift generated at the wingtip, which raises carbon efficiency by 2-to-5 percent
  • Increase the use of alternative fuels and propulsion units with bio-gas fueled heavy duty trucks, delivery vans, and heavy duty trucks with biodiesel fuel blends
  • Use hybrid engines
  • Use route planning technologies to reduce fleet fuel consumption
  • Make changes in transportation methods or “modal shifts” from air to road, sea and rail, and road to rail
  • Use route optimization and application of intelligent traffic guidance systems.

The company will also improve the energy efficiency of sorting centers and warehouses.

  • Increase the proportion of regenerative energy used in global operations at the DHL air cargo hub
  • It does this by producing electricity in solar cells, and covering internal needs—in terms of electricity, heating, and cooling energy—by using combined heat and power generators.  

The GoGreen Program’s methods for carbon reduction will assess, reduce, and offset carbon dioxide emissions. Measuring its carbon footprint will be followed with making achievements transparent with a carbon-accounting system. Each division has identified various business-specific measures that will take effect in the future and are designed to reduce carbon emissions.

Supply Chain Assistance

A new DPWN subsidiary—DHL Neutral Services—will provide consulting services for customers interested their carbon footprint.

DPWN will also expand its climate neutral GoGreen shipping service, which allows customers to offset the carbon emissions produced when they ship parcels and goods through internal and external climate-protection projects.

Endeavors like this present shippers with options and benefits, especially those with a strong commitment to sustainability who expect their suppliers and partners, like logistics service providers, to demonstrate a similar commitment.

One major challenge for DPWN is measuring carbon footprint because standard metrics and methodologies are still being developed. Recognizing that metrics are important is the first step in developing a carbon-accounting system. Methodology will will benefit when it is aligned with the standards bodies such as ISO.

Carbon Offsetting for Shippers

The concept of carbon “offsetting” is the only viable way for shippers to address climate change in the short term aside from not shipping, said Joe Madden, principle of Sustainable Transport Systems, a green transportation and logistics consulting firm in Santa Cruz, California. He added that it is vital, because the infrastructure in the transportation logistics system will largely rely on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Offsetting emissions has three primary benefits.
  • Offsetting measures emissions and ‘what gets measured, gets managed’” By quantifying emissions and identifying sources, organizations can take steps to address the issue.”
  • Offsetting channels funds into climate friendly projects—like renewables—that will become the backbone of a low carbon economy.Money can be channeled into preserving carbon sinks like forests that naturally sequester carbon. 
  • Offsetting helps individuals and organization connect their actions to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). 

    It is too easy for most people and organizations who have a limited understanding of climate change to think only of obvious actions such as their vehicular driving or direct operations, as contributing to GHG emissions.

    Joe Madden, principal, has helped launch DriveNeutral and Advanced Transit Dynamics as well as serving as an Associate Editor for Triple Pundit, Media Outreach Coordinator for the Treasure America Project and the development of numerous collaborative efforts that include TransNeutral and LiveNeutral DuPont.


    Sustainable Transport Systems sustainabletransportsystems.

    Edited by Carolyn Allen
    | governance | management | transportation |


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