Why Carbon Measurement in Freight is Hard (& what to do about it)

Reducing and offsetting carbon emissions is becoming an increasingly important issue in the freight industry.

In this article, we look at why you should be offsetting your freight carbon emissions, why your carbon footprint can be so difficult to measure across your supply chain, and what changes we expect to see that will improve both carbon measurement and reduction in the freight industry.

Why should you offset your freight carbon emissions?

Being able to accurately measure and then offset carbon emissions from freight is becoming important to companies in Australia and throughout the world for a number of reasons.

Freight is a massive contributor to carbon pollution

The freight industry is one of the biggest carbon emitters on the planet.

In fact, according to the Climate Change Authority, transport in Australia, contributes to 18% of all carbon emissions. {https://www.climatechangeautho...}

Which means carbon offsetting should be a massive consideration to any company who moves large amounts of freight.

Customers are demanding it

Climate change is happening, and customers everywhere want to make choices that help them create a positive impact on the earth.

This means they’re demanding the ability to understand the impact of their choices, and carbon measurement and offset is part of that.

Being able to reduce and offset the carbon emissions created by freight is a social responsibility that can have a significant impact on how customers view your brand.

Governments will start to legislate it

We’re already seeing governments in Europe mandate that companies be able to accurately record how much carbon they’re emitting and be able to offset it.

To do this successfully, we need a way to accurately measure carbon emissions.

Why it’s so hard to measure carbon in the Freight Industry

Carbon measurement relies on being able to capture an accurate view of how your freight moves through the network after it leaves your warehouse.

But freight is complex, and unless you are completely in control of your supply chain, including the trucks that move your freight, then (for now) it’s impossible to get a perfect estimate of the carbon impact your freight is having.

The reality is, that most businesses don’t have access to accurate data, because their freight is managed by a third party carrier.

And most carriers don’t have a good enough understanding of carbon emissions themselves to be able to supply the data required for accurate measurement.

First, all modes of transport create different levels of emission, which means different carbon calculations are required. Carriers often don’t know in advance which truck will be used for a particular shipment. Your carrier might tell you they use a B double truck, but then that truck is only used for only a portion of the journey. Your freight might be in a different truck at pickup, and in a van at last mile delivery.

Then there’s other complicating factors such as delays due to flooding, or freight being moved onto a different route because of route disruptions.

What will the future of carbon measurement in freight look like?

Just because its complex, doesn’t mean we can’t work towards measuring carbon emissions in freight.

In addition to what we’re already doing with carbon measurement, reduction and offset at Freight People, here’s what we can expect to see as we work towards creating a carbon positive freight industry that can accurately measure, report and offset carbon emissions.

More transparency from carriers

As the push towards being carbon neutral becomes more urgent, we expect to see carriers being more transparent around the routes their trucks are taking, and the exact trucks that are used for each consignment.

We’ll also see carriers doing more direct reporting to their customers, making it easier for companies to see their carbon calculation and report accurately on their emissions.

Push towards electric vehicles

We’re already seeing a push towards electric vehicles now, and we can expect to see that increase, with more and more companies choosing carriers who offer this service.

Choosing a carrier with electric trucks might be slightly more expensive at the outset, but choosing a cheaper truck has a higher carbon cost that you’ll have to offset at the end.

When you make an informed choice to reduce the amount of carbon you create in the first place, you’ll be viewed as more carbon conscious by your customer, and create less carbon impact.

IOT Tracking

Internet of Things technology will enable us to attach a tracker to each parcel that collects data related to carbon emissions in the same way it tracks data for temperature, location and damage.

We’ll be able to get a definitive estimate on carbon emissions because we’ll know which depot each consignment goes through, the exact route it takes and the exact vehicles its using to get to its destination.

Freight People are leading the way in Carbon Measurement for Freight

As a Climate Active company, Freight People are committed to leading the industry when it comes to the measurement, reduction and offsetting of carbon emissions.

With our experienced team and Carbon Calculator you can take action in your business today, to start estimating and managing your carbon footprint.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can make your supply chain more carbon conscious.