The increasing demand for deliveries in the last mile of logistics has a significant impact on the environment and urban traffic. According to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey and the World Economic Forum, the number of deliveries will increase by 78 percent by 2030, leading to an increase in delivery vehicles and CO₂ emissions. At the same time, the EU has a goal to be climate neutral by 2050. To address these challenges and create sustainable logistics, electromobility and green logistics play an important role.
What is meant by green logistics?
Green logistics refers to measures and strategies aimed at reducing the environmental impact of logistics processes and making them more sustainable, resource-efficient and climate-friendly. Given the projected increase in last-mile logistics deliveries and the associated increase in delivery vehicles on the roads, it is crucial that the transport and logistics sector reduces its CO₂ emissions in order to meet climate protection targets.
What is a sustainability report, and what is it needed for?
A sustainability report is an important step in quantifying a company's own CO₂ emissions and understanding how much CO₂ a company actually emits. Through sustainability reporting, a company provides information about its corporate sustainability responsibility (CSR) strategy and discloses its progress in the area of sustainability at regular intervals. It is a significant component of corporate communications.
The introduction of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) at EU level has resulted in large companies being required to prepare sustainability reports and quantify their CO₂ emissions from the 2024 financial year. The CSRD sets uniform standards for sustainability information and aims to treat sustainability integrally and gradually put financial topics on an equal footing. Small and medium-sized capital market-oriented companies have the option of deferring application for two years. Non-EU companies are also affected if they exceed certain thresholds.
Strategies and measures for sustainable logistics
Switching to electromobility
Switching to electric mobility is a key element in reducing CO₂ emissions in the transportation and logistics sector. Electric vehicles have no CO₂ emissions when in operation and can be charged with renewable energy, further reducing the CO₂ footprint. Although electric vehicles are often more expensive to purchase, savings can be made on operating costs in the long term. This is where a TCO consideration is very useful: The calculation of the total cost of ownership helps to compare the direct and indirect costs of an electric car with those of a combustion engine. This includes energy costs as well as maintenance and repair, vehicle taxes and other fixed costs.
According to the German Logistics Association (BVL), the use of electromobility in light commercial vehicles up to 7.5 tons can lead to a 90% reduction in CO₂ emissions. Using rechargeable batteries and operating power from renewable energy sources can even achieve a 100 % reduction in CO₂ emissions. For heavy trucks over 12 tons, the use of electromobility can lead to a reduction of 74 % of CO₂ emissions.
Sustainable logistics planning
Starting or expanding fleet electrification can be a challenging proposition. It is therefore all the more important to plan ahead in order to successfully implement holistic and sustainable logistics planning. Here, virtual planning tools can help companies optimize their logistics processes and avoid unnecessary transports. By using simulation tools, different scenarios can be run through, and the best possible solution can be found that meets both operational requirements and sustainability goals.
Combined fleet and charging management
Unified fleet and charging management helps reduce CO₂ emissions from electric vehicles by ensuring efficient use of vehicles and charging infrastructure. Real-time data on vehicle status and battery charge levels can optimize routes and charging operations to minimize energy consumption. By combining fleet and charging management, more targeted decisions can be made about how and when to charge vehicles.
Intelligent charging management systems enable advanced dashboards and control systems to provide comprehensive insight into the electric fleet at all times. Combined fleet and charging management can thus not only reduce CO₂ emissions, but also increase efficiency in the transport process and thus reduce costs.
Use of renewable energy sources
The charging infrastructure can be controlled so that electric vehicles are charged primarily with electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power when it is available. Weather forecasts can be used to accurately predict solar yields for the next 24 hours. By actively integrating photovoltaics (PV), vehicle charging is controlled to maximize self-consumption from the PV system. In this process, PV power is provided to the vehicles in a targeted manner.
In addition, energy from renewable sources can be stored to balance electricity demand during peak loads or periods of low energy production. This allows the company to make the energy supply more flexible and avoid potential grid overloads.
Electromobility plays a central role in establishing sustainable logistics. Significant reductions in CO₂ emissions can be achieved through the use of electric vehicles, especially if the batteries and operating power come from renewable energy sources.
In order for transport and logistics companies to achieve their climate targets, the following measures should be taken:
- Drive the shift to electric mobility, especially for light commercial vehicles and heavy trucks.
- Implement holistic and sustainable logistics planning to avoid unnecessary transport.
- Introduce unified fleet and charging management to ensure efficient use of vehicles and charging infrastructure.
- Promote the use of renewable energy sources and consider PV integration and energy storage.
By implementing these strategies and measures, transportation and logistics companies can do their part to reduce CO₂ emissions while promoting the development of a sustainable and environmentally friendly logistics industry. It is of great importance that companies act proactively and seize the opportunities presented by electromobility and green logistics to effectively address the growing demand for deliveries and climate protection.