As the world’s largest logistics provider, the Deutsche Post DHL Group has a huge responsibility to uphold its commitments to ensure the safety of employees, society and the environment. We take our role in helping to lead the way towards a greener, more sustainable future for logistics very seriously, and have been designing and implementing climate and environmental protection measures for more than 15 years.
In 2008, we launched our GoGreen program and became the first logistics company in the world to set a measurable climate protection target, aiming to improve CO2 efficiency by 30% by 2020. This goal was achieved in 2016, four years ahead of schedule, thanks to a diverse range of measures to optimise the Group's vehicle fleet, buildings and logistics networks. In 2017, we took GoGreen one step further, introducing Mission 2050 - our ambition to reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050.
In an organisation of our size and scale, target-setting is essential to make sure actual progress is made against our objectives, and this means thinking both long-term, while also setting interim goals to hit. For example, as part of Mission 2050, the Group is working towards interim targets for 2025, incorporating all aspects of our business and our impact on the environment – helping us stay on schedule as we move towards net-zero.
Target-setting also means we’re able to evaluate our programme and introduce new initiatives. In 2021 we launched our accelerated Sustainability Roadmap; building on the progress made since 2008 with even more ambitious interim goals. In line with the Paris Climate Agreement, we will invest €7 billion over the next ten years to reduce our emissions to under 29million tonnes of CO2e by 2030, and thereby commit to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). In addition, starting in 2021, we are specifying carbon neutral design for all new (owned) buildings, we aim to electrify 60% of our last-mile delivery vehicles by 2030, and are linking Board member pay to the achievement of our ESG targets.
A whole business investment
Ambitions and targets will remain just that without the commitment of everyone on the ground, and we’re proud of the fact that every division within the Group is united in the drive to reach net-zero. Innovations on both a global and local level show this commitment. Express has confirmed the order of 12 fully electric eCargo planes, with the aim of setting up an unparalleled electric Express network and making a pioneering step into a sustainable aviation future. Here In the UK, we have made several significant investments over the last few years under our efficiency principles of ‘burn less’ and ‘burn clean’.
Across the group, over 90% of our electricity is from renewable sources, and we’re increasing our percentage of self-generated electricity. In our Supply Chain business, we recently introduced the UK’s first fully-electric 16 tonne truck which is now an important part of our London fleet; making last mile deliveries into the West End shopping district, and are committed to investing in a significant number of gas HGVs over the next few years. We also recently signed an MOU with Riversimple to explore the role of hydrogen in DHL’s decarbonisation strategy. In our Express and Parcel divisions, we are continuously rolling out electric vehicles to replace our existing fleet, and in London, DHL Express introduced a riverboat parcel delivery service as part of its overall strategy to reduce vehicle congestion in the urban environment.
Global Forwarding is also a pioneer when it comes to carbon reduction, having introduced a biofuel option for Ocean Freight shipments to its GoGreen portfolio in 2017, and officially launching its Full-Container-Load (FCL) GoGreen Plus Ocean Freight product in June 2021.
Committing to the next steps
Looking to the future, we are clear on the areas that need to be addressed to make decarbonisation a reality for the industry. As a group, we are committed to working together with industry, government and stakeholders more widely to ensure we’re making the necessary progress. We need a clear roadmap to support investment.
In addition, when thinking about accelerating the use of alternative fuels we know the availability of gas refuelling facilities is a challenge, and when it comes to electric charging there is a huge requirement on the grid to support charging points on logistics sites. Both aspects need to be tackled as we seek to decarbonise more of the UK’s fleet. Likewise, it is important that the essential nature of freight services is recognised, and we have a regulatory framework that ensures policy issues are considered holistically across regulatory bodies and geographies, for example avoiding different vehicle standards in different cities.
There is clearly much work to be done over the next decade to ensure our business is the most responsible corporate citizen it can be, and that the industry continually progresses towards a greener future. However, we’re confident that with small, significant and people-led action, as well as flagship initiatives, we can make the meaningful, sustained and lasting progress that is so essential in the fight against climate change.
Listen to DHL discuss logistics-related emissions and hear their advice to business here.