Published 7 months ago.
About a 6 minute read.
It’s important for organizations to seek like-minded partners that understand their climate goals and are interested in working together to identify decarbonization strategies and solutions.
There is more focus than ever right now on companies investing in environmental
and reporting on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With growing interest from
customers, investors and policymakers in organizations’ carbon footprints, the
business world is facing increased pressure to disclose emissions data at a more
granular level. This means disclosing Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
As companies publicly share their carbon footprint data and set timebound
climate goals, it’s critical they determine strategies to address all three
emission types. Scope 1 and 2 emissions are easiest to control, so are often
first on the list to address; but to make significant progress toward
Scope 3 reductions also need to occur. In fact, according to
Scope 3 emissions are 11 times higher than operational emissions for the average
company — presenting a significant opportunity to decarbonize.
One way companies can begin addressing and driving Scope 3 emission reductions
is partnering with like-minded transportation and logistics companies that have
established their own sustainability goals and are investing in low-carbon
solutions and innovation.
Scope 1 and 2 emissions are the most commonly discussed and reported because
they have been widely understood for some time. They are an easy entry point for
organizations looking to start reducing its carbon footprint.
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As defined by the
“Scope 1 emissions are direct GHG emissions that occur from sources that are
controlled or owned by an organization … Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG
emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat or cooling.”
Scope 3 emissions — defined
that are the “result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the
reporting organization, but the organization indirectly invests in its value
chain” — remain a bit more challenging for
There are 15 categories of Scope 3 emissions, which include emissions from
upstream and downstream transportation and distribution activities.
Recent data from
found that while 79 percent of companies with more than $1 billion in revenue
are at least somewhat concerned about Scope 3 emissions, only 33 percent of
companies are reporting on them. It’s clear companies need to begin
understanding and addressing their Scope 3
and set carbon-reduction goals; but many are unsure how to start.
As companies begin investing in Scope 3 reporting, transportation and logistics
activities — which account for 29 percent of US GHG
— represent a large opportunity for decarbonization.
For organizations looking to reduce their transportation-related emissions,
there are clear best practices and strategies for success. One effective
strategy includes partnering with a logistics company that is committed to
reducing emissions and exploring new, innovative technologies.
It’s important for organizations to seek like-minded companies who understand
their goals and are interested in working together to identify strategies and
solutions focused on decarbonization. However, determining the right partner may
be a challenge; so we recommend asking the following questions to learn more
about its sustainability efforts and commitments:
Have you publicly shared a carbon-reduction goal or commitment? It’s
important your transportation partners have publicly shared goals for
reducing their carbon footprint and impact by decarbonizing their operations
and investing in low-carbon
By lowering their own carbon footprint, they also help their customers
reduce their Scope 3 emissions. Having a publicly declared goal means
partners are being transparent about their efforts and sustainability
journey, and they are holding themselves accountable for their climate
impacts. Ask your current or potential partners what their carbon-reduction
targets are and how they set them to better understand their commitment to
Do you have emissions data? Is it easy to access? Reporting is a
considerable challenge for most organizations; and as the saying goes, “if
it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed.” For transportation-related
emissions, it’s important to find logistics partners that can provide
customized, real-time data to fit your specific reporting needs. They should
work with you to understand what data you need and when you need it; and
provide it in an easy-to-understand, accessible format.
How new is your fleet? Newer fleets have inherent carbon emission
benefits because they are outfitted with the latest technology — including
solutions around fuel efficiency, alternative
and hybrid or fully electric
The younger a transportation partner’s fleet is, the more it can aid in
Scope 3 reduction goals.
How diverse is your portfolio of solutions? It’s important to partner
with a transportation and logistics company that provides a diverse,
well-rounded portfolio of solutions; so all your supply chain needs are
understood and easily met. Ask potential or current partners about their
offerings and if they are including these as part of its ongoing efforts to
reduce carbon emissions.
Once you select a transportation partner, it’s critical to engage in ongoing
conversations about goals, the latest innovations, changing needs and more.
Having a strategic, transparent relationship is a great way of staying aligned
and exploring new opportunities as the industry evolves. We increasingly see
both sustainability and transportation leaders at large-enterprise organizations
joining these discussions to ensure all are working toward the same goals.
Beyond conversations, it’s also critical to understand your partners’ commitment
to the exploration and testing of new sustainable technologies. There are many
exciting innovations available today for further testing — including
battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen engines, hybrid diesel/battery-assist
engines, compressed natural gas trucks, solar panels and more.
While there are still obstacles to the widespread use of these new technologies, having a testing strategy highlights a
company’s commitment to driving efficiencies and building a scalable framework
for driving decarbonization while still meeting customer needs. For example,
charging infrastructure remains a prominent obstacle when it comes to electric
vehicles. Still, testing and validating, mostly in
are determining what an electric future could look like.
Of course, not all new technologies may be a fit for your organization and
processes; so having a partner who can help determine if it’s something worth
exploring to meet your needs is also valuable.
As with any industry, there is no single solution for how the transportation and
logistics sector can reduce its emissions and support a climate-stable future — there
are many avenues for solution providers to explore to support their customers
and help make meaningful progress toward carbon-reduction goals.
Published Jul 20, 2023 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
Shawntell Kroese is AVP of Sustainability and Sales Operations at Werner Enterprises — a global transportation and logistics company.