How to reduce CO2 emissions in logistics and tips for dealing with the carbon crisis in last-mile delivery


By Komal Puri | October 13, 2022

What are carbon emissions in logistics?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions result from burning fossil fuels in vehicles and industrial processes. In logistics, carbon emissions come from various types of transportation used to move goods and packages across the globe. Last-mile delivery carbon emissions are generated by delivery fleets including trucks, cars and scooters.

The demand for supply chain sustainability today comes from three distinct parties: consumers, governments, and financial institutions. Building efficiency into the emissions-heavy last mile resonates with each of these stakeholders. The 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, held in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom October 31-November 12, 2021 (COP 26) attracted delegates from 200 countries where they discussed accelerating efforts towards a sustainable future including the decarbonization of road transportation and achieving zero-emissions vehicles by 2040.

Are consumers interested in carbon emissions and sustainability?

Sustainability or reducing carbon emissions is becoming more important to consumers. According to the Global Sustainability Study 2021, sustainability is rated as an important purchase criterion for 60% of consumers globally. In the U.S., this number is just over the global average at 61%.

Consumers want to see the impact of their deliveries and also be able to make a choice about their deliveries. Forty-three percent of consumers are more likely to choose retailers that offer more sustainable delivery options such as how and when those purchases will arrive.

What do carbon emissions mean for last-mile delivery?

The steady growth of e-commerce has meant more packages to deliver and an increase in the amount of carbon emissions resulting from those deliveries. Demand for last-mile parcel deliveries are estimated to increase by 78% globally by 2030, resulting in greater emissions. With no interventions, we can expect a 32% jump in carbon emissions from urban delivery traffic by 2030. The pressure for brands to lower their carbon emissions swiftly and dramatically has never been greater.

How to reduce CO2 emissions in logistics?

Making deliveries efficient and sustainable can be a tough balancing act. Brands must make deliveries more quickly than ever to give their consumers the best possible experience while also worrying about reducing carbon emissions. The key to success lies in optimizing transportation, delivery, and reverse logistics to make the last mile more sustainable.

In order to reduce CO2 emissions, it is important for logistics companies to be able to track their carbon emissions to better understand the impact any reduction strategies might have on their emissions. Companies want to embrace greener and more efficient means of moving packages and minimizing their carbon footprint. Last-mile technology can help them with these goals.

How to reduce carbon emissions using last-mile technology?

Here are four key strategies that can help reduce carbon emissions.

Route Optimization

One way to reduce CO2 emissions is to plan and optimize the sequence of stops for vehicles and drivers in a delivery fleet. Optimizing the deliveries themselves while factoring in traffic, weather and route issues contributes to a reduced carbon footprint.

Increasing First Attempt Deliveries Rates

A higher first attempt delivery rate reduces associated costs and the carbon footprint if there is no need to attempt a delivery multiple times. Validating addresses and allowing consumers to indicate special delivery instructions helps increase success rates for first attempt deliveries and reduces fuel consumed and carbon emissions.

Utilizing last-mile delivery technology also allows logistics companies to develop a database of knowledge on how to successfully deliver packages to confusing addresses or difficult locations, reducing the number of attempted deliveries at that location in the future.

Minimizing and Optimizing Returns

Brands can try to minimize returns by providing clear descriptions of products and sizes on their websites. However, once a return is needed, there are a variety of ways to optimize the return through the use of third-party partners as drop-off points, and by encouraging customers to make returns at stores through curbside drop-off or other no-wait solutions. Creating efficient delivery routes that can incorporate returns pickups also helps reduce carbon emissions.

Store replenishment deliveries can be coordinated with returns to utilize the same trucks that are returning to a distribution center. Technology and analytics can help determine the best practice for each return request, including letting the customer keep the item, shipping it to another store or returning it to the distribution center.

Micro Fulfillment Centers and Hyperlocal Delivery

Retailers worldwide continue to add new fulfillment options to help drive sustainability. According to research by Accenture, last-mile supply chain emissions can be reduced by up to 26% through 2025 through the use of local fulfillment centers. In-store fulfillment, pop-up distribution centers, micro-fulfillment centers and utilizing dark stores as fulfillment centers are all options for retailers to help decrease their carbon emissions. Accurate inventory forecasting and management also help brands to reduce their carbon emissions. Inventory held in local distribution centers with shorter distances to travel than from regional centers also helps reduce delivery mileage and its environmental impact.

How to reduce CO2 emissions in logistics with FarEye’s last-mile delivery platform

FarEye’s last-mile delivery platform provides solutions to help logistics companies measure and reduce their carbon footprint. Having a baseline and an understanding of your carbon emissions allows you to plan ways to reduce them.

A unique all-in-one low code/no code platform combining delivery orchestration, and real-time visibility, branded customer experiences.

  • Access real-time visibility, machine learning (ML) driven insights, and decisioning for shippers, carrier networks, and consumers

  • Optimize dynamic routing, delivery scheduling, order tracking and delivery accuracy

  • Provide flexible and frictionless order tracking and fulfillment controls in a branded consumer experience

  • Manage green fleets and reduce CO2 emissions to achieve sustainability goals

Why choose FarEye for last-mile deliveries?

Optimize delivery routes: Help drivers with the shortest path to reach customer location thereby achieving fleet productivity and on-time deliveries.

Boost fleet visibility: Get real-time data such as vehicle location, if the vehicle is fully loaded and used to its maximum capacity, and vehicle idling time. Allow managers to monitor abnormal driver behaviors like speeding, long idling times, unnecessary braking and more.

Enhance customer experience: Let your customers know where their package is, who will deliver it, estimated arrival time and if there are any potential delays. Customers can communicate with logistics carrier agents to rate their experiences and raise concerns if needed.

Increase profitability: FarEye’s route optimization software reduces distance traveled, fuel consumption and boosts the success of deliveries.

Reduce your carbon footprint: Reduce vehicle idling time and miles traveled per delivery thereby reducing fuel consumption. Leverage electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) and eliminate paperwork.

With the right last-mile delivery platform, companies can ensure every delivery in the world reaches its destination every time, on-time, accurately, efficiently and with minimal environmental impact.

Komal puri

Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.

Komal Puri
Sr. Director of Marketing | FarEye

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