When transport solutions are purchased, environmental impact is just one of many parameters to consider, and in lack of regulations and minimum standards it is not always the first priority. Nevertheless, sustainable logistics is developing quickly: DSV Road, for instance, has reduced emissions substantially thanks to optimizations and biofuels.

”Our customers are putting more emphasis on environmental issues. I am convinced that future market shares will depend on sustainable solutions”, says Evelina Weich, Environmental Strategist, DSV Sweden.

”We would welcome EU-wide minimum sustainability standards for the transport industry. Clearer regulations on emission levels, for instance, would counteract unfair competition and lead to more sustainable resource consumption”.

Applied environmental research

In  her work at DSV Road, environmental specialist Evelina Weich is applying knowledge from her research on sustainable logistics. ”A solid environmental work pays off in many ways”, Evelina says. Photo: DSV.

The logistics research that Evelina Weich conducted at Lund University centered on the environmental requirements made by customers in their procurement of transport services. She learned that different sectors have vastly different priorities; some companies have the ambition to minimize environmental impact from transports, while others focus more on other aspects, such as cost and delivery time. She also came to the conclusion that environmental requirements tended to be downplayed as negotiations progressed.

”Once the discussion reaches the total cost, many companies compromise on environmental requirements. This can of course be problematic from a sustainability point of view; leading companies should lead the way by applying their environmental standards throughout procurement procedures. To meet EU climate goals, more than voluntary efforts are needed, and we would like to see clear, industry-wide incentives: common emission ceilings, harmonized biofuel taxes, and so on. As long as biofuels are more expensive than fossil fuels, both national and global climate targets are in jeopardy”, Evelina says.

Her research was awarded with a prize and a scholarship for best degree project of the year. Today, Evelina Weich is working as Environmental Strategist at DSV in Landskrona. ”One of my aims is to underline our sustainability results in our marketing. We are certified according to ISO 14001, and we are doing many things that contribute to a more sustainable transport system – but we could present our ambitions and achievements better. I often sit in on sales meetings and inform customers about DSV’s environmental strategy. The annual sustainability report is also an important communication channel”.

Fossil-free bulk cargo deliveries

Beside the transition to HVO biofuels for road transport, hybrid electric vehicles are being tested for urban transports. Photo: DSV

”DSV’s domestic groupage loads are handled in a closed system called HUB. The distribution network consists of 19 stations, among them three groupage stations (HUB). The system ensures maximum utilization of cargo capacity and thus reduces the number of vehicles on the roads. Our groupage freight system used to consume 9 million litres of diesel a year, equivalent to 26,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, but by converting from diesel to HVO 100 (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils) and other biofuels, annual emissions are dropping substantially. The conversion is followed by thorough control of hauliers’ compliance with the rules”, Evelina Weich says.

HVO 100 is a renewable and non-fossil synthetic diesel fuel made from abattoir waste and vegetable oils. The fuel’s potential reductions of carbon emissions are expected to total 90 percent.

”Today, we have 200 vehicles running on HVO 100 or biogas in our food distribution. Developments move fast and most new vehicles are approved for HVO 100. As more and more filling stations offer this fossil-free fuel, HVO 100 will become the most accessible biofuel that ensures a rapid transition to a non-fossil vehicle fleet. That the price of HVO 100 follows the price of ordinary diesel in Sweden is significant, of course”.

”We also carefully monitor the development of other, alternative fuels such as biogas, electricity and bioethanol. We stay in close dialogue with carmakers, oil companies and authorities to further reduce DSV’s carbon footprint, and our goal is to successively enhance our performance and achieve reductions upwards of 90 percent when the prerequisites are in place. Technical solutions are important but other measures are required as well. We need to build a society that encourages sustainability. It could be anything from railroads to tank installations that are adapted for new fuel varieties. Ecodriving and cargo utilization improvements are other measures that benefit both the environment and the bottom line. A solid environmental work pays off in many ways”, Evelina Weich says.

The article was published in May 2017.