We need to talk about Emissions

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Ship releasing large amounts of emissionsAt a time when climate change is at the fore in the news, it might be time for the logistics sector to have a talk about emissions.

Our sector is hugely important for the national economy. Both consumers and businesses are demanding more speed, convenience & variety than ever in their delivery options.

Commerce and industry rely on the transport sector to move those goods around. But, as we all know, the sector is also a contributor to harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the transport sector is the largest contributor to UK emissions.

Globally, the sector is the fourth largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

What can we do about it?

Transport & logistics are essential to the economy. But our reliance on less-than-environmentally-friendly technologies is becoming a problem.

There is a tendency to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to our environmental impact.


The legislation is being put in place. Clean-air zones (CAZ) are set to roll out in some of the worst-affected areas in the UK. CAZ encourage the use of low emission vehicles, compliant with euro-6 standards etc… Other countries are also rolling out similar schemes.

Legislation shouldn’t be your only priority though.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Organisations carry a level of responsibility for their impact on the world around them.

In an industry known for its environmentally harmful emissions, taking a step beyond the legislative requirements can give you an advantage.

By putting environmental issues at the heart of your CSR practices, you can be seen as an early adopter.

That early adoption of low-emissions technology can put you ahead of the game when it comes to winning new business.

Financial gains

The CSR benefits of reducing emissions can bring positive PR & a unique selling point in the logistics sector. Going above and beyond to reduce harmful emissions brings real, tangible, business-led benefits.

Electric and low-emissions vehicles – even those that have been retrofitted – can result in substantial savings for logistics and delivery businesses.

In many areas, investing in green fleet technology can net you government incentives, like grants, tax breaks & discounts on the congestion charge. Low (and zero) emissions usually mean lower day-to-day running and maintenance costs too.

That, in turn, results in reduced overall lifecycle costs for those vehicles.

The logistics sector is essential, but we can no longer ignore our environmental impact. The financial ROI for logistics companies that invest in emissions reduction (before legislation forces them to) can be huge. 

By Dave Pickburn

About the author

Dave Pickburn is founder and director at Stream, the logistics, vehicle & transport management software for businesses managing their own fleet. Dave has worked in software for the logistics sector for over 20 years, and in that time has become an advocate for emissions reduction in the sector. Stream Go manages routes (cutting down miles on the road for all vehicles), and Stream Check manages maintenance (ensuring vehicles are always running at their most efficient). Stream also includes an EV module as standard, which helps businesses transition to electric & low-emissions vehicles. You can follow Dave on Twitter @DavePickburn.

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