In 2019, the UK made history by becoming the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law. This ambitious and much-needed legislation aims to completely phase out our contribution to global warming by 2050 – an upgrade to the initial target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels.
Progress has already been made, reducing emissions by 42% so far and numerous incentives in place to promote the growth of a “green-collar job market” and £170 billion worth of exports from low carbon sectors in 2030. The logistics industry has a huge role to play in creating a net zero future. Carbon neutrality is the ultimate goal, one that can be achieved through balancing the emissions that come from vehicles and other forms of transport with those that are removed from the environment, or alternatively by eliminating them completely. It is an attainable yet ambitious goal for the industry that necessitates innovative changes such as electric vehicles and better routing strategies to reduce emissions caused by unnecessary transportation.
Increasing the Standards for Warehousing
Warehousing is an integral part of the supply chain, and as such, should be appropriately equipped to meet net zero targets by 2050. In order to help this cause, great value lies in taking advantage of current and emerging renewable energy options such as solar panels.
Adapting older warehouses will also help existing operations contribute to a more sustainable future, however the most effective way of achieving these targets is from the outset — investing in green replacements during new builds and renovations is the best way to ensure that businesses are using resources like solar power and rainwater instead of non-renewable energy sources.
The wider logistics industry has shown commitment towards embracing efficiency and net zero goals. As such, it’s likely that developers will show increased enthusiasm in creating new opportunities for those engaged in warehousing services.
The Role of Alternative Fuel
Our current reliance on cars and vans to make road journeys means that we need to start transitioning towards electric vehicles within the next decade in order to meet our net zero targets by 2050. While only a tiny percentage of vehicles are currently electric, the production of traditional fuel cars needs to stop by 2032 if they are to be phased out over an average lifespan.
This goes to show just how quickly we need to act in terms of making this change. Fortunately, such action is already being taken thanks to companies such as DHL who are trialing electric vehicles as part of their operations, thus providing a much-needed benchmark for wider implementation.
The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership recently completed a Low Emissions Freight Trial, which evaluated the performance of gas-powered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), both with spark ignition engines and compression ignition engines. The report also considered the functionality of vehicles operating with compressed natural gas and liquified natural gas, alongside biomethane equivalents.
This assessment showed that spark ignition powered trucks fueled with RTFO-certified biomethane reported impressive well-to-wheel greenhouse gas savings in the range of 69–81%. This was across all runs including long haul, regional, urban and city center voyages. In addition to this, it was found that gas trucks proved significantly less costly for businesses to operate compared to their traditional counterparts.
As the UK navigates its journey towards net zero emissions, the automotive logistics and warehousing industries are prepared to face changes and move towards an environmentally sound future. To make sure your voices are heard, you can express your thoughts and opinions on Twitter. Additionally, our blog offers informative perspectives from renowned figures of the industry, providing everyone with a deeper insight into what this means for the present and beyond. With climate change being at the forefront of much discussion today, these initiatives illustrate a commitment to shaping a better tomorrow.