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Logistics greenhouse gas emissions falling despite economic pressures

Logistics operators are on course to meet their voluntary greenhouse gas reduction target through the use of a wide range of efficiency improvement measures, according to the second annual report of the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme.

The Scheme is the only sector based initiative that records, reports and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the logistics sector. During 2011 Scheme membership grew to 59 companies operating between them over 56,000 commercial vehicles (HGVs and vans). The Scheme received the endorsement of Logistics Minister Mike Penning MP in April last year.

During 2010 a reduction in emissions intensity was recorded of 2.6 per cent, meaning that participants were emitting less carbon dioxide even though their vehicle mileages may have grown or remained the same.

The Scheme works by collecting fuel usage data from participating companies and calculating carbon dioxide emissions that result from its combustion in commercial vehicles. CO2 emissions from fuel represent over 90 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions of most road transport operators and are the most easily measured and managed part of their ‘carbon footprint’. The data are anonymised and aggregated to produce a series of indicators for the Scheme overall. Data on vehicle mileages and company turnover are also collected to allow the intensity of emissions per kilometre and per million pounds turnover to be measured. Participants have committed to achieving an overall 8 per cent reduction in these measures by 2015.

"Pressures on businesses during the current tough trading times have not deterred Scheme participants from continuing their investment of time and money into a wide range of carbon saving techniques," said James Hookham, Managing Director of Policy and Communications at FTA.

"The Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme is showing the benefits of investments and efforts that are continually being made in transport operations to make them more efficient. These have always been going on but now we can quantify the effects and take credit for the progress being made. Scheme participants can be proud of their achievement so far and the Government satisfied with the vote of confidence it gave the Scheme last April.

"Our goals for 2012 are to continue and maybe accelerate this promising trend. During 2011 we commissioned a powerful and unique web application from Heriot-Watt University that allows fleet managers to calculate the best carbon saving technique for them to invest in. The ‘Carbon for Money’ application compares the effects of nearly 40 different fuel-saving techniques from driver training to a switch of traffic from road to rail or water. This allows fleet managers to quantify the carbon savings from the investments they are asking their companies to make and guide them through the maze of different fuel-saving techniques available. The application is free to use for Scheme members."

The Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme is managed by FTA but is open to all commercial vehicle operators to join.

Hookham concluded: "The current and very real concerns about the economy have tended to drown out the equally serious need to tackle climate change and meet statutory carbon reduction targets. The Scheme presents a very low cost and low effort way for businesses of all sizes ‘to do their bit’. FTA is determined that the logistics sector takes a leading role in the economy by showing how the never-ending quest for improved efficiency is also producing environmental benefits for everybody."

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