Green Freight Asia (GFA) held the Annual Forum in conjuncture with Responsible Business Forum for Sustainable Development from 2 to 4 November 2015 at Marina Bay Sands. The topic was Bringing Green Freight Practices to Scale and the discussion panel consisted of invited guests representing shippers (DHL, UPS), clients (IKEA, HP, Heineken) and NGOs (Clean Air Asia, Smart Freight Centre), chaired by Green Freight Asia CEO Stephan Schablinski. Here are some of the key points that were raised at the forum.
Why is green freight important?
Transport accounts for at least one fourth of total energy consumption in Asian countries and other parts of the world. Transport is also the number one consumer of oil, of which most comes from road transport. The significant impact freight have on the environment has led to several initiative by governments and private companies. Companies with large number of deliveries, such as HP, recognises the responsibility that comes with this much transport and are changing the way the think about logistics.
Green Freight has been included in the upcoming ASEAN strategic transport plan 2016-2025. Also, in May 2015 the UN Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) released a Global Green Freight Action Statement and Plan with the aim to enhance the environmental and energy efficiency of goods movement in ways that significantly reduce the climate, health, energy, and cost impacts of freight transport around the world. The plan can be downloaded here.
What are the benefits of green freight?
There is a common notion that the choice is either you save cost or you go green, but in this forum the answer to this was clear: There are great opportunities for cost savings in green freight. IKEA saved half a billion dollars on shifting shipping by air to sea, whereas the Green Freight India Working Group recorded that a simple implementation of driver training at TATA Steel resulted in more than 40% fuel improvement.
Suppliers are moving towards higher expectations, and requests to have deliveries by non-fossil fuel are increasing. Vendors ask their partners, what are you doing about green freight? If the answer is nothing, they lose out because the vendors change to using providers who are performing well in green freight.
Partnerhips in green freight
Green freight can be greatly facilitated through collaboration and partnerships. The transport sector which is highly fragmented needs leadership to set direction for transformational change and find approaches to influence public policy.
Companies are also engaging third parties to achieve better transparency. It is difficult to measure CO2 accurately, so organisations such as GFA or Global Logistics Emissions Council can assist by creating a universal and transparent way of calculating logistics emissions across the global supply chain.
On a practical level, Green Freight India Working Group Freight provided an excellent example on direct benefits of collaboration for green freight. Freightbazar.com is sharing platform in India, which connects vendors with shippers to avoid empty freight volumes in their transports resulting in an increased efficiency when transporting goods.
Link for more information on the Green Freight Asia and the GFA label can be found here.