GoGreen: How a parcel shipment becomes climate neutral
With the introduction of the GoGreen program, Deutsche Post DHL was the first global logistics provider with a quantifiable climate protection target.
A CD of a favorite band, the latest smartphone or a bottle of red wine for the evening pasta - everything today is often just a mouse click away. Ordered online, then immediately and conveniently delivered to the home: It's as simple as that. And if the GoGreen delivery option from Deutsche Post DHL is also selected at the same price with a second mouse click, shipping is even climate neutral. That too is quite simple. But how do you make the CO2-emissions of a complex transport chain simply disappear with the click of a mouse? Only thanks to the intelligent interplay of different measures.
Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is a challenge for every company. Particularly for one that warehouses millions of tons of goods around the globe as the world's leading postal and logistics service provider and delivers them using different modes of transportation. Deutsche Post DHL took up this challenge early on and was the first company in the logistics industry to formulate a quantifiable climate protection target: By 2020, the Group aims to improve its CO2-efficiency by 30 percent over 2007 levels for every letter mailed, every container transported and every square meter of space used. This target includes subcontractors.
In order to achieve this ambitious goal, Deutsche Post DHL launched GoGreen in 2008, a program with which CO2-emissions are measured and solutions for improving efficiency are developed and implemented together with the company's customers Group-wide. GoGreen is directly affiliated with the Board of Management and the climate targets are anchored in the Group's Strategy 2015. As a result, environmental protection has become a basic part of the business activities for the Group.
From climate-neutral products, CO2 reports and comprehensive consulting services for increasing efficiency, through fleet and network optimizations, from the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings and facilities through the introduction of innovative and energy-saving technologies, from the mobilization of employees to the integration of subcontractors and customers - very different approaches and activities for improving environmental performance flow together into the GoGreen program. "In the past five years with GoGreen, we have already been able to reduce pollutants Group-wide by 16 percent," said Katharina Tomoff, who is responsible for Shared Value and GoGreen at Deutsche Post DHL. "As a result we are well on our way to achieving our carbon efficiency target of 30 percent by 2020. The intelligent interplay of numerous individual measures as well as a sophisticated system for measuring carbon emissions form the basis for this progress."
But let's get back to ordering something on the internet: The continuing growth in online retail is one reason why Deutsche Post DHL can record such strong growth in the parcel business. In the process, the demand for eco-consulting and climate-friendly delivery has also continued to increase for years now. In 2012, the Group transported 2.41 billion items carbon neutrally - over a half billion more than in the previous year and more than ever before. Deutsche Post DHL made sure that the nearly 180,000 tons of carbon dioxide generated by these deliveries was offset. That is achieved on the one hand through the purchase of emissions certificates, with which Deutsche Post DHL invests in certified climate projects around the world.
On the other hand, the Group seeks to reduce carbon emissions at the point of generation: in transport and warehousing. As part of the GoGreen program, Deutsche Post DHL modernized a major portion of its vehicle fleet: Among the 80,000 road vehicles that the Group operates worldwide, 8,500 already utilize innovative technologies and drive systems - and it is a figure that is rising. "Our goal is to reduce exhaust and noise locally by introducing innovative technologies," explained Tomoff. For example, in the New York borough of Manhattan, the entire vehicle fleet was switched over to electric and hybrid engines two years ago. Since then, the yellow vans of Deutsche Post DHL have made eco-friendly trips through the streets of the Big Apple with hardly a sound.
The aircraft fleet is also being gradually renewed: New Boeing 747-8 aircrafts have been deployed, for example, on the particularly high-traffic Hong Kong-Cincinnati route. Currently the most modern freight plane in the world, the Boeing 747-8 offers more room than comparable planes and consumes less fuel. But there is also potential for improving the company's carbon footprint beyond the transport fleet. From heating in the sorting centers to the desk lamps at individual workstations: Thanks to GoGreen measures aimed at improving energy efficiency, Deutsche Post DHL has been continually reducing energy consumption and covering over a third of its entire need in buildings and facilities with renewable energy sources for years now. That also saves on additional emissions.
New ways of climate protection
More efficient fleets and buildings are one way to reduce the emissions balance sheet. Another opportunity for reducing the environmental impact is to invest in existing climate protection projects and thereby offset carbon emissions. But Deutsche Post DHL, as a pioneer in the logistics industry, goes even further. In 2010, the company began to build up its own climate protection project in the African nation of Lesotho. Here Deutsche Post DHL, together with its partners, invests in Saver80 woodburning stoves. These stoves help the local people to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent when they are cooking food. Moreover, substantially less firewood is used. A positive side benefit: The intensive clearing of forests is counteracted and progressive erosion is contained. "The certification in line with the international Gold Standard that our project received at the start of 2013 is a significant milestone for GoGreen," explained Katharina Tomoff. "We expect the use of the stoves to lead to a reduction of over 20,000 tons of CO2 starting in 2014."
The savings achieved in this manner are ascribed to Deutsche Post DHL as operating partner of the project and are included in the compensation calculations of GOGREEN-products. If customers select climate neutral shipping, they receive in exchange a corresponding CO2-certificate that certifies the offsetting of the emissions - as of 2013 this includes the GoGreen project in Lesotho. The positive contribution that this project makes to the environment and the local society as well as the economic benefit that the emissions certificates have for the Group are proof of the claim that Deutsche Post DHL delivers respect and results.
Sharing experiences and best practices
In the five years since the introduction of the GoGreen program, the Group has continually gained experience in increasing energy efficiency: through trial operations with alternative drive systems as well as through training employees, the certification of its own climate project or Green Optimization - a service portfolio along the supply chain. With this comprehensive know-how, the leading postal and logistics service provider also advises its customers. That brings in new business and also reduces the carbon footprint of the Group. Because the most climate-friendly way to deal with emissions is not to generate them in the first place if possible.
Five years of GoGreen - the program
With the introduction of the GoGreen program, Deutsche Post DHL was the first global logistics provider with a quantifiable climate protection target. The central elements of the GoGreen program are the fleet and network optimizations, the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings and facilities, the introduction of innovative technologies, the mobilization of employees and the integration of subcontractors and customers. The GoGreen products, with which carbon neutral shipping is offered, are also part of the program. That means carbon emissions generated during transport are calculated and offset through contributions to internationally recognized climate protection projects.