Climate change

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Between 30 November and 11 December 2015, world leaders met in Paris for the United Nations Framework on Climate Change COP21 to agree new global commitments to replace the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.  The UK has an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. The overall contribution of the transport sector to UK greenhouse gas emissions is 20.5 per cent.  Within the sector, hgvs make up 20 per cent of emissions, vans over 13 per cent and cars over 58 per cent.

The logistics industry has a big role to play in reducing its own climate impact in order to contribute to national targets whilst also delivering vital goods and services for the economy. FTA is proud to be helping industry to play its part. 

3107057_white truckEmissions standards for road freight

Since 1995, C02 emissions from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) have remained stable, despite sustained economic growth. There’s been a consistent policy focus on the levels of emissions from HGVs affecting air quality, which led to the creation of Europe-wide maximum emissions standards.

The logistics sector has seen a reduction in particulate matter of some 98 per cent since the introduction of the Euro 1 standard in 1993. This is despite a 20 per cent increase in volumes being moved over the period.

Focus on carbon emissions for HGVs

What we’re now seeing is a focus on reducing carbon emissions from HGVs. Within the road freight sector, operators are sharing loads to reduce empty running, investing in low carbon vehicles, utilising alternative fuels, engaging in driver training and making the most of telematics to not only reduce carbon emissions but to cut fuel costs.

Rail freight

The supply chain is also getting cleaner at every level as companies look to move goods by greener means - such as short sea shipping and rail. Indeed, rail freight traffic has grown by 40 per cent since the early 1990s.

A freight train takes the emissions of the equivalent of 48 lorries out of the atmosphere. While many journeys must take place by road, companies such as Tesco, Eddie Stobart and Asda are already enjoying the benefits of moving goods by rail.

Air freight

Aviation is perhaps the hardest sector in which to quickly bring down emissions and the International Civil Aviation Organisation is working to develop a market based measure to curb emissions. It’s important that decisions to reduce aircraft emissions are taken at a global level while not restricting the important movement of goods by air.

Sea freight

Shipping is regarded as one of the greenest methods of moving goods internationally. However, there is still work that the shipping industry can do to reduce its environmental impact. The Global Shippers' Forum is engaged with the International Maritime Organisation who has responsibility for reducing the sector's emissions.  Like aviation, shipping is a global industry that requires a global solution based on technological improvements and rewarding best practice.

LCRS largeFTA’s Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme

We’ve established the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme supported by industry partner: Bridgestone UK Ltd gives logistics companies the opportunity to record and report their progress on carbon reduction, while also considering ways to improve and sharing best practice.

Such voluntary action shows the seriousness with which the logistics sector views its environmental responsibilities.

Find out more about FTA’s Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme

Get more information

Contact us at or on 01892 526171 if you’d like more information on the work FTA and its members are doing to improve the logistic industry’s environmental performance.