The Race to Transform Last-Mile Delivery
The rapid growth of e-commerce and online shopping has led to a significant increase in last-mile delivery. Last-mile delivery refers to the final stage of the delivery process, where packages are transported from local distribution centers to the end consumer. While this has made shopping more convenient for consumers, it has also increased carbon emissions, contributing to climate change.
Last-mile delivery is a critical component of the supply chain and accounts for a significant portion of a company’s carbon footprint. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, last-mile delivery accounts for up to 53% of a product’s total carbon footprint. This is due to inefficient routing, multiple trips to the same location, and the use of vehicles powered by fossil fuels.
As the demand for online shopping continues to grow, so does the number of delivery vehicles on the road, leading to an increase in carbon emissions. According to a report by the European Environment Agency, the transport sector accounts for approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This highlights the urgent need for companies to adopt sustainable practices in their last-mile delivery operations.
Strategies for Achieving Carbon Neutrality in Last-Mile Delivery Operations
Companies can adopt various strategies to achieve carbon neutrality in their last-mile delivery operations. One of the most effective strategies is replacing traditional delivery vehicles with electric ones. Electric vehicles are a low-carbon emissions alternative with lower operating costs than traditional ones. Companies like Amazon, UPS, and DHL have already started integrating electric vehicles into their fleets. Amazon, for example, plans to have 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2030.
Another strategy is to use alternative fuels such as biofuels or hydrogen fuel cells. Biofuels are derived from renewable sources such as vegetable oil, while hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water. Both alternatives have significantly fewer emissions than traditional fossil fuels.
Optimizing delivery routes can also help reduce carbon emissions. Using technology such as route optimization software, companies can plan the most efficient routes for their delivery vehicles, reducing the miles traveled and the emissions produced.
In addition, some companies are exploring innovative climate-smart solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of last-mile delivery. For example, the Dutch company Bubble Post uses cargo bikes and electric vehicles for last-mile delivery in urban areas, reducing emissions and traffic congestion. Delfin Logistics provides last-mile delivery for key clients through electric trucks. The startup Volta Trucks is developing an electric delivery vehicle specifically designed for last-mile delivery in urban areas, with a range of up to 95 miles on a single charge.
Despite the progress made by some companies, there are significant challenges to achieving carbon neutrality in last-mile delivery. One of the main challenges is the cost of implementing sustainable practices. Electric vehicles, for example, are currently more expensive than traditional vehicles, and companies may need more resources to invest in them.
Also, another challenge is the lack of infrastructure to support sustainable practices. This includes the lack of charging stations for electric vehicles and the limited availability of alternative fuels.
Another example that can be mentioned is Origem, a Brazilian startup that specializes in the production and manufacturing of electric motorcycles for professional use. Its innovative approach to electric mobility is revolutionizing the industry in Brazil. By providing affordable zero-emissions vehicles , developing route optimization software, and implementing a convenient battery swap system, the company is spearheading the transformation toward sustainable and efficient transportation. With its commitment to democratizing access to electric mobility, Origem is paving the way for a greener future while supporting the operational needs of its clients.
The future of last-mile delivery looks promising. With technological advancements and a growing focus on sustainability, companies are increasingly adopting climate-smart practices in their delivery operations.
Green Initiative: Empowering Last-Mile Delivery Services Towards Carbon Neutrality
At Green Initiative, we proudly support last-mile delivery services in this fundamental transition to carbon neutrality. Through our advisory and climate certification services, we support logistic companies worldwide to introduce climate action at the core of their business model, developing the technical capacities they need to remain competitive in what we hope will be a much greener and net-zero emissions economy.