Couriers Go Green

European Union’s policy and legislative framework on green city logistics

The Green shift of urban logistics and freight transportation:  Common values, objectives and priorities

The shift towards environmentally friendly urban logistics and freight transportation is crucial to the overall goal of achieving a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy by 2050. Achieving this shift requires changes in behaviour, technological advances, and infrastructure development to promote sustainable mobility and reduce the negative impact of transportation on the environment. The European Commission (EC) recognises the importance of citizens and consumers in driving this transformation forward. It stresses the need for local investments and increased engagement of consumers in sustainable practices. Additionally, the EC emphasises the significance of smart urban planning, the development of a sustainable bio-economy, and the creation of carbon sinks to support the transition. Moreover, the EU’s commitment to global cooperation and leadership in climate action is highlighted, stressing the need for international collaboration to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets consistent with the Paris Agreement. The green shift in urban logistics and freight transportation aligns with the broader goals of transitioning towards a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy, emphasising sustainable mobility, technological innovation, social fairness, and international cooperation. (European Commission, 2018)

Current green transport policy framework

The EU has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by at least 90% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The EU is implementing various policies and initiatives to promote the use of low-carbon transport modes, such as doubling rail freight traffic, revising CO2 emission performance standards for heavy-duty vehicles, enhancing multimodal connections, shifting to electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and developing new distribution models and infrastructure. The EU’s strategies for the green transition are outlined in the European Green Deal, the smart and sustainable mobility strategy, and the new urban mobility framework. Additionally, member states are setting national targets to reduce emissions from transport, with different degrees of ambition and achievement. The document also highlights the significance of implementing a “green” policy for transport and logistics to achieve efficient and sustainable operations in courier, postal, and delivery services. (Couriers Go Green, 2023)

In the following pages, we summarise relevant literature from 2018 to 2021.

European Commission, A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy, COM (2018) 773 final

The document “A Clean Planet for All: A European Strategic Long-term Vision for a Prosperous, modern, competitive and Climate Neutral Economy” by the European Commission highlights the urgent need for decisive climate action, emphasising the severe impact of global warming on Europe and the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is cited, indicating that human-induced global warming has already reached 1°C above preindustrial levels and is increasing at approximately 0.2°C per decade. The document stresses the need to transform towards a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy by 2050, outlining the significant risks and potentially irreversible impacts of unconstrained climate change. It emphasises the importance of a comprehensive and socially fair transition to achieve this goal, addressing the effects on various sectors of the economy, infrastructure, food production, public health, biodiversity, and political stability. Furthermore, the document underscores the need for a strategic long-term vision involving the active participation of European decision-makers, citizens, and the private sector to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Additionally, the document emphasises the EU’s commitment to lead global climate action, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s objectives to limit global temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. It highlights the EU’s role in driving sustainable economic growth, promoting innovation, and demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of transitioning to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy. The EU’s progress towards its 2020 energy and climate targets is acknowledged while stressing the need for continued focus to overcome recent stagnation in energy efficiency improvements and greenhouse gas emission reduction trends.

The document outlines the strategic priorities and pathways for the transition to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy, including maximising the benefits from energy efficiency, embracing clean, safe, and connected mobility, developing adequate smart network infrastructure and inter-connections, and tackling remaining CO2 emissions with carbon capture and storage. It emphasises the importance of investment, finance, research, innovation, and deployment in driving the transition. It highlights the need for a coherent enabling framework to stimulate change and reorient capital flows and investments towards sustainable, low-carbon solutions. The economic and social impacts of the transition are also addressed, emphasising the potential for positive impacts on GDP, job creation, and economic growth while acknowledging the challenges and potential regional and social disparities that need to be managed effectively to ensure a fair and socially acceptable transition for all.

In conclusion, the document “A Clean Planet for All” presents a comprehensive and ambitious long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive, and climate-neutral economy. It emphasises the urgent need for decisive climate action and the significant opportunities and challenges associated with transitioning to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy by 2050.

Figure 1: Fuel mix in Gross Inland Consumption (source: EC, 2018, A clean planet for all)
Figure 1: Fuel mix in Gross Inland Consumption (source: EC, 2018, A clean planet for all)

ELTIS, (2019), Topic Guide: Sustainable Urban Logistics Planning

The topic guide is developed in the framework of the NOVELOG project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. It focuses on Sustainable Urban Logistics Planning (SULP) and provides comprehensive recommendations for its development within the context of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). The guide emphasises the importance of integrating urban logistics planning into the overall mobility strategy, acknowledging the significance of efficient freight transportation for urban economies. It highlights the need for comprehensive assessments, long-term vision, stakeholder cooperation, and robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to achieve sustainable urban logistics.

The document outlines the eight key principles of SUMP in the context of a SULP, emphasising the strategic and integrated approach necessary for dealing with the complexity of urban transport. It addresses the challenges of urban logistics, such as balancing commercial requirements with environmental sustainability and the importance of involving citizens and relevant stakeholders in the planning process. The guide also provides a detailed breakdown of the SULP development process, including activities and recommendations for each phase, from preparation and analysis to strategy development and monitoring. It emphasises the need for stakeholder involvement, political and institutional ownership, and evaluating capacities and resources in the initial stages of SULP development.

Furthermore, the document stresses the importance of establishing working structures, defining the development process and scope of the plan, and involving stakeholders in the planning process. It also recommends linking with other planning processes and organisations to ensure a comprehensive and integrated approach. Additionally, the guide highlights the significance of agreeing on a time plan and work plan, providing a framework for setting objectives, procurement types, and stakeholder roles during the development and implementation of the SULP. The document also underscores the need for data collection and analysis, emphasising the importance of utilising tools and frameworks for assessing urban freight transportation activities and determining the geographical scope of the plan.

Overall, the document serves as a comprehensive guide for local authorities and stakeholders involved in sustainable urban logistics planning. It provides practical recommendations and best practices for developing and implementing SULPs within the broader framework of sustainable urban mobility. It emphasises the need for multi-stakeholder involvement, consensus building, and robust data collection and analysis to ensure effective and sustainable urban logistics planning.

European Commission, The European Green Deal, COM (2019) 640 final

The European Green Deal is a comprehensive strategy designed to address climate change and environmental challenges in the EU. Its primary objective is to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy while ensuring a fair and prosperous society. The plan focuses on various areas, including protecting natural capital, promoting sustainable growth, and ensuring a just transition. Some of the policies under the Green Deal include clean energy, circular economy, smart mobility, and sustainable building.

The European Green Deal (source: EC, 2019)
The European Green Deal (source: EC, 2019)

The Green Deal highlights the importance of integrating sustainability into all EU policies, achieving a zero-pollution goal, implementing a fair transition mechanism, and leading the world in addressing climate change. The initiative also seeks to safeguard the health and well-being of EU citizens from environment-related risks and impacts while protecting and enhancing the EU’s natural capital.

In the transformation to a fair and prosperous society, the needs of people, regions, industries, and workers that face the greatest challenges must be prioritized. The Green Deal emphasizes the importance of active public participation and confidence in the transition. It also underscores the need for a new pact that brings together citizens, authorities, civil society, and industry to work closely with EU institutions.

The Green Deal acknowledges the EU’s collective ability to transform its economy and society, leveraging its strengths as a global leader in climate and environmental measures, consumer protection, and workers’ rights. The plan also emphasizes the need for substantial public and private investment, increased efforts to direct private capital towards climate and environmental action, and the coordination of international efforts to build a coherent financial system that supports sustainable solutions.

Key Actions and Initiatives outlined in the European Green Deal

The European Green Deal outlines a comprehensive set of measures and initiatives aimed at tackling climate change, promoting sustainability, and establishing the EU as a global environmental leader. The deal lays out a roadmap with key actions and a tentative schedule for various initiatives. It underscores the need to enhance climate ambition, proposing a European ‘Climate Law’ to solidify the objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The deal also proposes to increase the EU 2030 climate target to at least 50% and possibly 55% in a responsible manner. This requires revising legislative measures related to emissions trading, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and more, with proposals for a carbon border adjustment mechanism and a new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change. Table 1 provides a list of the key actions and initiatives along with their indicative timetable.

Table 1. Key Actions, Initiatives and Indicative Timetable
(source: Reprinted from The European Green Deal, COM, 2019)

Actions Indicative Timetable
Climate ambition
Proposal on a European ‘Climate Law’ enshrining the 2050 climate neutrality objective March 2020
Comprehensive plan to increase the EU 2030 climate target to at least 50% and towards 55% in a responsible way Summer 2020
Proposals for revisions of relevant legislative measures to deliver on the increased climate ambition, following the review of Emissions Trading System Directive; Effort Sharing Regulation; Land use, land use change and forestry Regulation; Energy Efficiency Directive; Renewable Energy Directive; CO2 emissions performance standards for cars and vans June 2021
Proposal for a revision of the Energy Taxation Directive June 2021
Proposal for a carbon border adjustment mechanism for selected sectors 2021
New EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change 2020/2021
Clean, affordable and secure energy
Assessment of the final National Energy and Climate Plans June 2020
Strategy for smart sector integration 2020
‘Renovation wave’ initiative for the building sector 2020
Evaluation and review of the Trans-European Network – Energy Regulation 2020
Strategy on offshore wind 2020
Industrial strategy for a clean and circular economy
EU Industrial strategy March 2020
Circular Economy Action Plan, including a sustainable products initiative and particular focus on resource intense sectors such as textiles, construction, electronics and plastics March 2020
Initiatives to stimulate lead markets for climate neutral and circular products in energy intensive industrial sectors From 2020
Proposal to support zero carbon steel-making processes by 2030 2020
Legislation on batteries in support of the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries and the circular economy October 2020
Propose legislative waste reforms From 2020
Sustainable and smart mobility
Strategy for sustainable and smart mobility 2020
Funding call to support the deployment of public recharging and refuelling points as part of alternative fuel infrastructure From 2020
Assessment of legislative options to boost the production and supply of sustainable alternative fuels for the different transport modes From 2020
Revised proposal for a Directive on Combined Transport 2021
Review of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive and the Trans European Network – Transport Regulation 2021
Initiatives to increase and better manage the capacity of railways and inland waterways From 2021
Proposal for more stringent air pollutant emissions standards for combustion-engine vehicles 2021
Greening the Common Agricultural Policy / ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy
Examination of the draft national strategic plans, with reference to the ambitions of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy 2020-2021
‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy

Measures, including legislative, to significantly reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides, as well as the use of fertilizers and antibiotics

Spring 2020

2021

Preserving and protecting biodiversity
EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 March 2020
Measures to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss From 2021
New EU Forest Strategy 2020
Measures to support deforestation-free value chains From 2020
Towards a zero-pollution ambition for a toxic free environment
Chemicals strategy for sustainability Summer 2020
Zero pollution action plan for water, air and soil 2021
Revision of measures to address pollution from large industrial installations 2021
Mainstreaming sustainability in all EU policies
Proposal for a Just Transition Mechanism, including a Just Transition Fund, and a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan January 2020
Renewed sustainable finance strategy Autumn 2020
Review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive 2020
Initiatives to screen and benchmark green budgeting practices of the Member States and of the EU From 2020
Review of the relevant State aid guidelines, including the environment and energy State aid guidelines 2021
Align all new Commission initiatives in line with the objectives of the Green Deal and promote innovation From 2020
Stakeholders to identify and remedy incoherent legislation that reduces the effectiveness in delivering the European Green Deal From 2020
Integration of the Sustainable Development Goals in the European Semester From 2020
The EU as a global leader
EU to continue to lead the international climate and biodiversity negotiations, further strengthening the international policy framework From 2019
Strengthen the EU’s Green Deal Diplomacy in cooperation with Member States From 2020
Bilateral efforts to induce partners to act and to ensure comparability of action and policies From 2020
Green Agenda for the Western Balkans From 2020
Working together – a European Climate Pact
Launch of the European Climate Pact March 2020
Proposal for an 8th Environmental Action Programme 2020

European Commission, Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy – putting European transport on track for the future, COM (2020) 789 final

The “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy” outlines the European Commission’s vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, accidents, and congestion while ensuring that mobility remains vital for economic and social life. The strategy focuses on transitioning to zero-emission mobility, making sustainable alternatives widely available, and implementing the right incentives to drive the transition. Key components include boosting zero-emission vehicles, renewable and low-carbon fuels, and related infrastructure, as well as creating zero-emission airports and ports. The document acknowledges the challenges faced by the transport sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for substantial investments to build a sustainable, smart, and resilient mobility system.

Milestones set by the European Commission

The European Commission has set several milestones for internalising the external costs of transport. By 2030, the Commission aims to have at least 30 million zero-emission vehicles in operation on European roads, 100 European cities that are climate neutral, and to double high-speed rail traffic. Additionally, scheduled collective travel under 500 km should be carbon neutral within the EU, and automated mobility will be deployed at a large scale. By 2035, zero-emission large aircraft will become ready for the market. These milestones are part of the Commission’s strategy to achieve a 90% reduction in the transport sector’s emissions by 2050 and to put European transport on track for a sustainable, smart, and resilient future.

The European Commission’s plan to incentivise transport users to make more sustainable choices

The European Commission is planning to encourage more sustainable choices in transportation through a combination of economic incentives and better information. This includes implementing carbon pricing, taxation, and infrastructure charging to create financial incentives for sustainable transportation choices. Additionally, the Commission aims to provide users with improved information, making them aware of sustainable alternatives available to them. The strategy also emphasises the importance of creating suitable conditions for the higher uptake of sustainable alternatives that are safe, competitive, and affordable. Furthermore, the Commission will work towards creating an environment that enables transport operators to offer carbon-neutral choices for scheduled collective travel below 500 km within the EU by 2030. These measures are part of the Commission’s broader efforts to transform the transport sector into a truly multimodal system of sustainable and smart mobility services.

European Commission, The New EU Urban Mobility Framework, COM (2021) 811 final

The European Commission has released the New EU Urban Mobility Framework to help European cities improve their mobility and transport systems. The framework proposes a reinforced approach to sustainable urban mobility planning, including developing sustainable urban mobility plans and multimodal passenger hubs. It emphasises promoting healthier and safer mobility, digitalisation, innovation, and new mobility services. The framework also aims to address the governance, coordination, international aspects, funding, and financing of urban mobility projects and promote sustainable urban mobility beyond the EU’s borders.

Initiatives and Programs to promote sustainable and smart urban mobility

The European Commission has implemented various initiatives and programs to promote sustainable and smart urban mobility at the international level. One such initiative is the International Urban and Regional Cooperation Programme (IURC), which has received interest from 44 cities from both EU and non-EU countries. The program focuses on urban and regional renewal and social cohesion, covering sustainable mobility and transport issues. The Commission has also engaged in numerous international activities to support the implementation of sustainable urban mobility solutions. These activities include investment dimensions and strategic mobility governance at the municipal level, with a particular focus on sustainable urban mobility planning. The Commission has also encouraged cooperation with international bodies such as the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and the International Transport Forum to strengthen cross-sectoral approaches for integrating reliable and affordable clean energy solutions, including under urban transport. Additionally, the Commission has promoted sustainable urban mobility approaches beyond the EU as part of the implementation of the Economic and Investment Plans for the Western Balkans, the Eastern Partnership, and the Southern Neighborhood. These initiatives demonstrate the EU’s commitment to promoting sustainable and smart urban mobility at the international level.

Funding and Financing Instruments

At the European and national levels, several funding and financing instruments are available to support urban mobility projects. These include the Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the Horizon Europe R&I Framework Programme, the Digital Europe Programme, and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Additionally, the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) in the enlargement region are also available to support sustainable urban mobility initiatives. Furthermore, the Taxonomy Regulation, adopted in 2020, creates a classification system for green economic activities, facilitating the scaling up of green financial products suitable for investment in urban mobility and alternative fuel deployments. The Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities mission aims to ensure greater synergies and complementarities with other EU programs, helping cities to deliver on the green and digital transition through the preparation and implementation of Climate City Contracts, which include investment plans and access to financing from various sources. Additionally, the Technical Support Instrument, InvestEU advisory hub, and the European Commission’s Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument provide advisory support, technical assistance, and funding to maximise the impact of EU funds on urban mobility projects. These funding and financing instruments demonstrate the commitment to supporting sustainable and smart urban mobility at both the European and national levels.

International Transport Forum, (2021), Decarbonising Transport in Europe: The way forward

The document “Decarbonising Transport in Europe: The Way Forward” summarises the results of the “Decarbonising Transport in Europe” project (DTEU), initiated, funded and supported by the European Commission. The project aimed to develop advanced models of transport activity in Europe to provide evidence of the impact of CO2 mitigation measures. This evidence enables decision-makers to identify realistic pathways towards decarbonising transport by 2050, aligning with the European Union’s goal of achieving climate neutrality by that year.

Two scenarios were developed: the Current Ambition (CA) scenario, which includes existing and expected policies, and the High Ambition (HA) scenario, which applies the CA measures more aggressively and introduces additional decarbonisation measures deemed feasible by experts. The simulations showed that the current policies will not be enough to achieve the EU’s target of reducing transport CO2 emissions by 90% by 2050 compared to 1990. However, more ambitious policies under the HA scenario could lead to a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions, surpassing the Commission’s previous decarbonisation goal.

Existing Legislation and Standards for Green Operation

The EU has implemented a range of legislation and standards to promote green operations in the transport sector. These regulations aim to reduce emissions, improve air quality, and enhance sustainability across all modes of transportation. Key directives such as the Clean Vehicles Directive, the Renewable Energy Directive, and the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive set out specific targets and requirements for member states to achieve in their efforts towards greener transport.

Clean Vehicles Directive

The Clean Vehicles Directive, adopted in 2009 and revised in 2019, sets out requirements for public procurement of clean and energy-efficient vehicles. It encourages the purchase of vehicles with low emissions or alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric, hydrogen, or natural gas-powered vehicles. By promoting the procurement of clean vehicles, this directive aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from the transport sector. (EC, 2019)

Renewable Energy Directive

The Renewable Energy Directive establishes binding renewable energy targets for the EU, including the transport sector. It requires member states to ensure that a certain percentage of energy used in transport comes from renewable sources, such as biofuels, renewable electricity, and renewable hydrogen. By promoting the use of renewable energy in transportation, this directive contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of the sector and increasing energy security. (EC, 2023)

Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive

The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive aims to ensure the development of a comprehensive network of alternative fuels infrastructure across the EU. It sets out common standards and requirements for the deployment of infrastructure for electric vehicles, hydrogen refuelling stations, natural gas, and biofuels. By facilitating the availability of alternative fuels and charging infrastructure, this directive supports the transition to cleaner and more sustainable transport modes. (EC, 2021)

Euro Standards for Vehicle Emissions

The EU has implemented a series of Euro standards that set limits on emissions from vehicles, including nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and carbon dioxide (CO2). These standards have driven the development of cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles, leading to significant reductions in harmful emissions. The latest Euro 6 standards, for example, impose strict limits on NOx and PM emissions from diesel vehicles, contributing to improved air quality and public health. (EC,

Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP)

The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan is a concept promoted by the EU to help cities and regions develop sustainable mobility strategies. It encourages the integration of various transport modes, such as public transport, cycling, walking, and car-sharing, to create a more efficient and environmentally friendly urban transport system. By adopting SUMPs, cities can reduce congestion, emissions, and noise pollution while improving accessibility and quality of life for residents.

Challenges and the way to move forward

The transportation sector is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in Europe, where non-urban freight plays a big role. Reducing emissions from exports could also prove difficult due to an expected increase in transport demand. Furthermore, decarbonising international aviation is costly and technically challenging. Achieving a zero-emission pathway also requires the rapid decarbonisation of motorised vehicles. (ITF, 2021)

However, there are opportunities for decarbonisation, such as relying on renewable energy sources to enhance efficiency and reduce costs for transport operators, especially for road freight. Non-urban passenger transport could also become carbon-free by 2050, creating a more resilient transport system and benefiting Europe’s tourism sector. Additionally, urban passenger emissions could approach zero by 2050 through the development of new mobility services.

Ambitious policies and technological advancements are necessary to achieve sustainable and low-carbon transport systems.

Based on the findings of the “Decarbonising Transport in Europe” project, the ITF discusses ten recommendations for transport decarbonisation in Europe:

  1. Act now and avoid delaying policy decisions, as new solutions and policies take time to implement and produce a significant effect.
  2. Set policy and build infrastructure that can adapt to changing conditions, investing in multiple solutions and contingency plans to prepare for inevitable uncertainties and avoid dependence on a narrow set of decarbonisation solutions.
  3. Create cross-sectoral governance structures with the power to address decarbonisation challenges, ensuring a comprehensive approach to policy impacts across all transport sub-sectors.
  4. Communicate the wider benefits of transport decarbonisation to ensure citizens’ acceptance and involvement, emphasising the benefits of a redesigned, carbon-free transport system, from more livable cities to improved access to opportunities.
  5. Increase support for innovative technologies and services and ensure new solutions are introduced where they have the most impact, targeting support to ensure that less affluent and less dense areas also benefit from innovative transport technologies and services.
  6. Help transport sector companies to accelerate the uptake of green solutions by reducing uncertainty through transparency and collaboration, providing information on economic policy development, regulatory measures, and support programs to enable bolder decisions and embrace new technologies and business models.
  7. Design stimulus packages for economic recovery to accelerate the transition to low-carbon transport, seizing the opportunity to channel COVID-19 recovery towards measures that will bolster trends which reduce transport carbon emissions.
  8. Invest in digital transport infrastructure, the attractiveness of public transport, and encouraging citizens to walk and cycle, prioritising investment in the creation of digital transport infrastructure and sustainable transport options.
  9. Support transport operators with conditional sustainability commitments, ensuring that support for transport operators is conditional on concrete sustainability commitments.
  10. Ensure that policies and infrastructure investments are designed in ways that allow adjustments when needed, with mechanisms for regular updates and infrastructure designed for easy capacity adjustments.

 

Overview of EU and other international funding programmes to support the green shift of urban logistics and last-mile freight transport.

The European Union (EU) offers various funding programmes aimed at supporting the green shift in urban logistics and last-mile freight transport, as part of its broader objectives to achieve sustainable and smart mobility. Here’s an overview of some key initiatives and resources:

European Green Deal and Transport

The European Green Deal sets ambitious targets to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient economy, aiming to achieve no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use. It also aims to protect, conserve, and enhance the EU’s natural capital and health and well-being of citizens from environment-related risks and impacts. Below are detailed targets and initiatives outlined within the European Green Deal, supported by references to their official sources for deeper exploration:

Climate Neutrality by 2050

  • Objective: Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially fair transition across all sectors of the economy.
  • Legislation: The target is legally binding under the European Climate Law.

Clean Energy

  • Renewable Energy: Increase the EU’s renewable energy targets to 32% by 2030, aiming for a greater share of wind and solar power.
  • Energy Efficiency: Aiming for a 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Sustainable Industry

  • Circular Economy: Implementing a circular economy action plan to promote long product lifecycles through reuse, repair, and recycling.
  • Decarbonization of Industry: Transitioning energy-intensive industries to greener alternatives and processes.

Building and Renovating

  • Renovation Wave: Doubling renovation rates of buildings over the next decade to increase energy and resource efficiency.

Biodiversity

  • 2030 Biodiversity Strategy: Aiming to protect and restore biodiversity across the EU, including planting 3 billion trees by 2030.

Farm to Fork Strategy

  • Sustainable Food: Reducing chemical pesticides by 50% and achieving 25% agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.

Pollution

  • Zero Pollution Ambition: Significant reduction of air, water, and soil pollution to levels no longer considered harmful.

Mobility

  • Sustainable Transport: Reducing transport emissions by 90% by 2050, encouraging a shift to sustainable and smart mobility solutions.

Financing the Green Deal

  • Investment Plan: Mobilizing at least €1 trillion in sustainable investments over a decade, with a focus on public funding and unlocking private funds through EU financial instruments.

Implementation and Oversight

  • European Climate Pact: Engaging citizens and communities in achieving these targets through the European Climate Pact.

These resources serve as primary information sources for anyone looking to understand the depth and breadth of the European Green Deal’s objectives, targets, and ongoing initiatives. [1]

EIT Urban Mobility Framework

EIT Urban Mobility is an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). EIT aim to become the largest European initiative transforming urban mobility. Co-funding of up to € 400 million (2020-2026) from the EIT, a body of the European Union. Create systemic solutions that will move more people around the city more efficiently and free up public space; bring all key players in urban mobility together to avoid fragmentation and achieve more engage cities and citizens from the word go, giving them the opportunity to become true agents of change. Using our cities as living labs, our industry and university partners will demonstrate how new technologies can work to solve real problems in real cities by transporting people, freight and waste in smarter ways. By fostering innovation and transformation, we candecarbonise mobility will create an innovation community to educate and inspire mobility solutions for 21st century cities.

The EIT Urban Mobility Foundation is a non-profit organisation registered in Spain. The Foundation was created in 2022 to support the delivery of the EIT Urban Mobility mission. Currently, the action areas of the Foundation are the EIT Urban Mobility Master School and Horizon Lab.

The EIT Urban Mobility Association’s purpose is to strengthen the European knowledge, business and growth position in safeguarding access to mobility and logistics in urban areas in a greener, more inclusive, safer and smarter way, whilst improving the fundamental value of urban areas as places to live, move, meet, experience and work.

Some of the key programs under EIT Urban Mobility include:

  1. Innovation Hub: This hub focuses on developing solutions that improve urban mobility and reduce congestion and pollution in cities. The goal is to create more sustainable and efficient urban transport systems.
  2. Academy: This program offers education and training to develop skills and knowledge in urban mobility management. It aims to prepare future leaders and innovators in the field.
  3. Business Creation: Aimed at supporting startups and new ventures in the urban mobility sector, this program helps in commercializing innovative mobility solutions.
  4. Factory: Focuses on bringing prototypes to market, supporting pilot projects that demonstrate the viability of new urban mobility solutions.
  5. RIS (Regional Innovation Scheme): This scheme supports innovation in regions that are moderate or modest innovators in Europe, aiming to boost their capabilities in urban mobility solutions.

The priorities of these programs are to enhance urban living, reduce carbon emissions, promote sustainable and innovative transport solutions, and improve the quality of life in urban areas. They target a wide range of stakeholders from city planners and local governments to startups and educational institutions involved in urban mobility.

The current calls are available here: https://www.eiturbanmobility.eu/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Call-programme_-January-2024.pdf

Horizon Lab

Horizon Lab (formerly The Action and Impact Group) was launched in June 2021 as part of EIT Urban Mobility’s Innovation Programme. The initiative supports and expands the financial and strategic value for EIT Urban Mobility’s community by targeting external funding especially for early and mid-TRL innovation and research actions.

EIT Urban Mobility Master School

Master School in cooperation with leading European universities, industry, and cities. Our master’s programmes will not only give you the education urgently needed by industry and cities, but also a valuable network and a truly international experience.

EU Funding Programmes (2021-2027)

The EU provides a comprehensive list of funding opportunities under the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and NextGenerationEU.

These include:

 Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the European Union’s flagship funding program for research and innovation, running with a substantial budget of €95.5 billion for the period 2021-2027. It aims to address global challenges such as climate change, support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and boost the EU’s competitiveness and growth. The program encourages collaboration and aims to strengthen the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting, and implementing EU policies. It targets a broad range of stakeholders, including legal entities from the EU and associated countries, facilitating the creation and dissemination of excellent knowledge and technologies, job creation, economic growth, and the optimization of investment impacts within a strengthened European Research Area​​.

Key features and innovations of Horizon Europe include the European Innovation Council, which supports breakthrough innovations with significant scale-up potential, and the implementation of missions to achieve ambitious goals in specific timeframes. The program also emphasizes open science policies, requiring open access to publications and the application of open science principles throughout its activities. Moreover, Horizon Europe introduces a new approach to partnerships, aiming for objective-driven and ambitious collaborations with industry to support EU policy objectives​​.

Horizon Europe is structured around three main pillars:

  • Excellent Science,
  • Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness,
  • Innovative Europe,

Each pillar encompasses various components like the European Research Council, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, and research infrastructures, catering to different aspects of research and innovation​​.

Horizon Europe has specific programs focusing on the logistics and transportation sector, which are part of their broader Climate, Energy, and Mobility work programs. These programs aim to develop solutions and services for clean, competitive, safe, smart, and resilient transport and mobility. The priorities include enhancing transport efficiency, reducing environmental impacts, and promoting innovation in mobility systems. For more detailed information about these programs and their specific calls for proposals, you can visit the European Commission’s official pages on Horizon Europe’s Transport Research and the related work program documents: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/horizon/wp-call/2023-2024/wp-8-climate-energy-and-mobility_horizon-2023-2024_en.pdf

Some examples:

The NZC project – NetZeroCities

NetZeroCities is part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme in support of  European Union’s Green Deal. NetZeroCities has been designed to help cities overcome the current structural, institutional and cultural barriers they face in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.

Upscaling Innovative Green Urban Logistics Solutions

URBANE standes for through Multi-Actor Collaboration and PI-Inspired (Physical Internet model) Last Mile Deliveries. URBANE’s objective is to demonstrate how innovative technologies, implemented using evolving Physical Internet concepts, can achieve up to 20% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from last-mile deliveries.

Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the period 2021-2027 is a crucial EU funding instrument aimed at fostering growth, jobs, and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investments across Europe. With an overarching budget of €33.71 billion, the CEF focuses on enhancing high-performing, sustainable, and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in transport, energy, and digital services sectors. This investment seeks to bridge missing links in Europe’s infrastructure, facilitating easier and more sustainable travel, improving Europe’s energy security and enabling broader use of renewables, as well as bolstering cross-border digital services​​​​.

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the period 2021-2027 focuses on strategic investment in transport infrastructure, emphasizing the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The CEF’s priorities in the transportation sector include enhancing cross-border connections, filling missing links, and promoting sustainable, inclusive, and secure mobility across all transport modes (road, rail, maritime, inland waterways, air).

Key priorities of the CEF for transportation include:

  • Supporting cross-border projects and removing bottlenecks in the TEN-T network.
  • Promoting smart, interoperable, sustainable, and safe mobility solutions.
  • Encouraging the use of new technologies and innovation such as automation, modal integration, and alternative fuels infrastructure.
  • Enhancing the resilience of transport infrastructure, particularly in response to climate change.
  • Improving connections to urban nodes, multimodal logistics platforms, maritime and inland ports, and rail-road terminals.

The CEF transportation sector has a substantial budget allocation, with €25.8 billion dedicated to supporting these initiatives between 2021 and 2027. This funding is intended to advance significant infrastructure projects that align with the EU’s broader objectives for a greener, more efficient, and fully integrated transport network across member states.

For more detailed information on the current programs and priorities under the CEF in the transportation sector, you can refer to the European Commission’s resources on the Connecting Europe Facility and the specifics of the CEF transport sector.[7]

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cohesion Fund (CF)

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) are EU financial instruments aimed at reducing regional disparities and promoting cohesion in the EU. The ERDF focuses on strengthening economic, social, and territorial cohesion by investing in innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises, green and digital transitions, and social inclusion. The CF targets Member States with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita below 90% of the EU average, supporting environmental sustainability and trans-European transport networks. For the 2021-2027 period, the ERDF and CF have a combined budget of over €240 billion. These funds are crucial for achieving the EU’s cohesion policy goals, aimed at all EU regions and Member States, particularly those less developed​​​.

For the 2021-2027 funding period, the ERDF is particularly focused on:

  • Supporting the development of a more connected Europe by enhancing mobility infrastructure which is critical for efficient logistics and transportation.
  • Promoting sustainable transport systems that are key to reducing the environmental impact of transportation.
  • Facilitating investments in digital connectivity and innovations in transport services which are vital for the logistics sector.

These priorities are embedded within broader goals to boost economic growth and social inclusion, and to transition towards a greener, low-carbon economy.

Specific ERDF-funded projects in the logistics and transportation sector would typically involve the development of infrastructure that supports both local and cross-border connectivity, enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of transport networks across the EU.

For more detailed information about the ERDF, its objectives, and how it supports the logistics and transportation sectors, you can visit the official pages on the European Commission’s website:

Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE)

The LIFE Programme, with a budget of €5.43 billion for 2021-2027, aims to support the transition to a sustainable, circular, energy-efficient, and climate-neutral economy. It focuses on protecting and improving environmental quality, halting biodiversity loss, and tackling ecosystem degradation. The programme covers four sub-programmes: Nature and Biodiversity, Circular Economy and Quality of Life, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, and Clean Energy Transition, addressing various environmental and climate action objective.

Interreg 2021-2027: Fostering Cooperation for a Stronger Europe

Interreg is a key instrument of the European Union designed to foster cooperation across borders through project funding, thereby supporting regional development and integration. The program aims to tackle common challenges identified across EU regions and strengthen the economic, social, and territorial cohesion of the EU member states.

Goals of Interreg:

  • Enhance regional integration: Promote cooperation across national borders, including internal EU borders and external borders with neighboring countries.
  • Support sustainable development: Address environmental, infrastructural, and social challenges through collaborative projects.
  • Improve competitiveness and innovation: Facilitate the sharing of ideas, resources, and technologies to boost the competitiveness of regions.
  • Encourage shared solutions and policy learning: Enable regions to develop and implement more effective regional policies through learning from each other’s experiences.

Priorities of Interreg:

  • A greener, low-carbon Europe: Focus on sustainable transport, energy efficiency projects, and environmental protection initiatives.
  • A more connected Europe: Emphasize improvements in transport and digital infrastructure to enhance accessibility and connectivity.
  • A more social Europe: Support projects that foster social inclusion and combat inequality.
  • A smarter Europe: Invest in innovation, digitization, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

These priorities align with the broader goals of the European Union’s cohesion policy, aimed at reducing disparities between EU regions and promoting sustainable, inclusive growth.

For more detailed insights, you can explore the official Interreg website and the European Commission’s page on Interreg.

Interreg has several programs that focus on sustainable transport, energy efficiency, and environmental protection initiatives across different European regions:

  1. Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP): Implemented in Alba Iulia, Romania, this plan focuses on increasing energy efficiency in public buildings, sustainable urban transport systems, and modernizing public lighting. The goal is to significantly reduce CO2 emissions throughout the city. This project exemplifies local government’s commitment to reducing energy consumption and enhancing environmental sustainability (Interreg Europe).
  2. Interreg North Sea Region: This transnational cooperation program involves seven countries and emphasizes improving accessibility, fostering sustainable transport, and enhancing environmental development. The program supports projects that promote green transitions and climate resilience, improving the overall quality of life and sustainability in the North Sea region (Interreg North Sea).
  3. Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Program: Focusing on remote and sparsely populated areas, the NPA program aims to support sustainable development by enhancing innovation capacity, climate change adaptation, and the sustainable use of resources. It promotes cooperation across the northernmost parts of Europe and the North Atlantic territories (Interreg NPA).

Interreg Europe has supported various projects that impact the logistics sector, focusing on improving sustainability, efficiency, and technological integration. Here are a couple of notable examples:

  1. Sustainable Urban Logistics: This initiative aims to tackle the challenges of urban logistics by encouraging the development of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). Cities are exploring policies to regulate non-passenger vehicles to reduce carbon emissions, air pollutants, and traffic congestion. The project advocates for the integration of clean urban logistics practices as cities experience a surge in logistics activities driven by e-commerce​​.
  2. Bouwhub – Smart Building Logistics: This project involves a logistical hub in Utrecht, designed to streamline the distribution of materials for building projects, thereby reducing CO2 emissions and improving efficiency. The hub organizes materials for multiple projects, reducing the volume of deliveries and coordinating the reuse and recycling of materials. This not only minimizes traffic and pollution in city centers but also enhances safety and reduces waste on building sites​​.
  3. RECREATE: This project targets regional transport SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to boost their capacity and competitiveness. It focuses on supporting high-tech SMEs in the transport sector to develop and commercialize new technologies, enhance their market knowledge, and improve their access to external information and resources. The project’s broader goal is to increase economic competitiveness in regions like Coventry and Warwickshire by focusing on the vehicle engineering and transport manufacturing sectors​.

Interreg DR, also known as Interreg Danube Region, supports various projects within the logistics sector, aiming to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and competitiveness across the region. Here are a few projects under Interreg DR that focus on the logistics sector:

  1. SPOTLOG: It focuses on creating green and socially responsible city logistics innovations. It involves local communities in developing zero-carbon logistics systems and utilizes digitalization to improve transport services. The project aims to foster trust among stakeholders and enhance policy instruments towards European goals of inclusive and carbon-neutral mobility​​.
  2. EMMA (Enhancing freight Mobility and logistics in the BSR): The EMMA project is dedicated to strengthening inland waterway and river sea transport in the Baltic Sea Region. It works on improving the political and operational framework for inland waterway transport, which includes raising awareness, performing pilot demonstrations, and influencing policy through strategic recommendations​​.
  3. CoCoBLog (Competent and Competitive Baltic Logistics): It aims to bridge the gap between current and needed logistics skills and competences within the Baltic Sea region. This project enhances the institutional capacities of companies in the logistics sector, ultimately leading to improved logistics performance and reduced disparities between countries in the region​​.

Interreg Central Europe (Interreg CE) is a European Union funding program that supports cooperation across Central European regions to tackle shared regional challenges. The program funds projects that enhance resilience and address transnational issues, focusing on innovation, environmental sustainability, and regional connectivity.

Here are a couple of projects supported by Interreg CE that focus on the logistics sector:

  1. SOLEZ: The project (SOLEZ) itself aims to improve sustainable mobility in urban areas across Central Europe. It focuses on developing low-emission zones, smart parking solutions, and action plans for cities to increase the diffusion of sustainable mobility practices. The project has developed various tools to assist cities in planning and implementing sustainable logistics and mobility solutions​​.
  2. TalkNET: Enhances the integration and coordination among ports, inland terminals, transport operators, and policymakers. The project emphasizes multimodality and eco-innovation, focusing on optimizing node management and deploying alternative fuels. It has developed numerous action plans and knowledge tools to support these goals, aiming to improve the efficiency and sustainability of transport and logistics networks across the region​​.
  3. Food4CE: Though not directly focused on general logistics, Food4CE involves logistics as part of its broader aim to support Alternative Food Networks (AFNs). This project focuses on regional food logistics, aiming to support sustainable and resilient food supply systems through the development of innovative logistics solutions and the adoption of electromobility​​.

Find more Interreg calls on the following page: https://interreg.eu/call-for-project/

Overview of EU and other international institutional instruments to support and consult on the green shift of courier/postal/delivery operations.

The green shift in courier, postal, and delivery operations is a global priority, driven by technological advancements, regulatory changes, and evolving market dynamics. This transition towards more sustainable practices in the delivery industry is supported and consulted by various international and EU institutions, through a mix of regulatory frameworks, technological innovations, and market-oriented reforms.

UN guide to climate action for transportation

The UN’s guide to climate action for transportation emphasizes a holistic and inclusive approach to decarbonizing the transport sector, crucial for aligning with the Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It outlines the imperative of shifting towards more sustainable, efficient, and inclusive transportation systems that cater to all, including the most vulnerable populations.

Key points include:

  1. Decarbonization Efforts: Prioritizing the phase-out of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040 and advocating for zero-emission vessels as the standard in shipping. This transition requires the collective effort of individuals, businesses, and governments to adapt their travel habits, business operations, and regulatory frameworks respectively​​.
  2. Inclusivity and Safety: Enhancing accessibility to safe and reliable public transportation is vital. Efforts should be directed towards making public transit options more convenient and addressing safety concerns, particularly those affecting women and girls, to ensure equitable access to mobility for over one billion people currently lacking​​.
  3. Economic and Job Opportunities: Sustainable transport systems are not only pivotal for environmental reasons but also offer significant economic benefits and job creation opportunities. Investments in public transportation, for example, are shown to yield thrice the number of jobs compared to the construction of new highways​​.
  4. Resilience and Adaptation: With much of the existing transport infrastructure at risk from climate-induced events, there is a strong call for enhanced resilience planning, risk analysis, and increased financing for climate adaptation, especially in developing countries​​.
  5. Technology and Innovation: Looking towards 2050, the vision is for a completely decarbonized transport sector achieved through the adoption of low-emission and carbon-free alternatives. Innovations in vehicle technology, clean electrification, and the development of zero-emission fuels for various modes of transport, alongside improvements in infrastructure, are highlighted as key enablers for this transition​​.
  6. Digital Integration: The use of digital technologies and advanced data management systems is crucial for improving the connectivity between different transport modes, enhancing the efficiency, reliability, and affordability of travel, and making systems more resilient to future shocks​​.

The UN guide to climate action for transportation calls for a collaborative effort across all sectors and levels of society to transform transportation into a sustainable system that supports economic growth, improves public health, and mitigates climate change. The realization of this vision will require comprehensive reforms in policy, financing, and societal behavior towards mobility.

OECD’s strategy for sustainable transportation

The OECD’s strategy for sustainable transportation, endorsed by Environment Ministers of OECD member countries in May 2001, focuses on moving towards Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST). It aims to support economic development and individual welfare without causing undue health and environmental impacts or depleting finite resources. The guidelines encourage governments to develop and implement strategies that consider their unique geographic and socio-economic conditions, offering a desirable approach for the transport sector that could also benefit other sectors in sustainable development.

International Support and Consultation

The World Trade Organization (WTO) outlines how the postal and courier services sector, which plays a crucial role in the global communications infrastructure, has undergone significant changes over recent decades. These changes include market-oriented reforms such as the corporatization and privatization of public postal operators and the reduction in the scope of postal monopolies. The WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) applies to postal and courier services, encouraging liberalization and improved market access. Technological advancements have also driven increased demand for parcel delivery, pivotal for e-commerce and just-in-time supply chain management​​. The World Trade Organization (WTO) primarily focuses on creating smooth, predictable, and free global trade frameworks rather than specific sectors like sustainable transport. However, its initiatives indirectly support sustainable transport through trade policies encouraging environmental sustainability and reducing trade barriers for green technologies. For detailed strategies and objectives related to trade and environmental sustainability, please refer to the official WTO resources.

EU Support and Consultation

The European Union (EU), through its environmental and transport policies, significantly influences the green shift in courier, postal, and delivery operations. While specific EU-wide programs directly targeting courier/postal operations’ sustainability were not identified in the provided materials, the EU’s comprehensive environmental strategies, including the European Green Deal, likely encompass measures that indirectly support this sector’s greening. The EU has historically emphasized reducing emissions, promoting energy efficiency, and fostering innovation in transport and logistics, which would include courier and postal services as part of the broader transport sector.

Overview of EU and other international career advancement opportunities in the green urban logistics sector.

The green urban logistics sector is a rapidly growing field with various quickly developing areas such as sustainable supply chain management, transportation planning, renewable energy integration, data analytics, or last-mile delivery management, all of which are eqally important areas of sustainable freight logistics in optimizing logistics networks to minimize environmental impact. Europe is implementing ambitious policies and regulations to promote sustainable urban logistic shaping policies related to emissions reduction, congestion management, and alternative transportation.

Apart from industry actors or academic institutions, government agencies, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also play an important role in promoting and implementing sustainable urban logistics initiatives. Due to EU fundings several startups and research institutions in Europe are cooperating to develop innovative technologies and solutions to optimize urban freight logistics enabling businisess maintaining practices to minimize environmental impact, work on initiatives such as supplier engagement, carbon footprint reduction, modal shift to more sustainable transportation modes, last-mile delivery management, or even ethical sourcing and circular economy principles.

Institutions in career advancement in the green urban logistics sector:

Academic institutions, research centers and think tanks

Universities and research institutions in Europe conduct cutting-edge research on topics related to green urban logistics, including sustainable transportation systems, energy-efficient logistics operations, and smart city initiatives. Several universitites provide degree programs, certificates, and courses focused on sustainable transportation, urban logistics, and supply chain management, covering topics such as green logistics strategies, transportation planning, sustainable supply chain practices, and environmental management. These organizations provide opportunities for collaboration, knowledge exchange.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (Germany) focuses on company-specific, made-to-measure solutions and accompanies its customers from planning to implementation.

The Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds (UK) deliver internationally excellent research outputs, which impact upon transport policy and practice, and contribute to the wider economy and society.

Professional development courses, events, conferences and workshops:

Interprofessional courses, workshops, and seminars focus on green urban logistics and sustainable transportation practices such as route optimization, emissions reduction, or green fleet management. At conferences professionals, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders discuss the latest trends, innovations, and challenges of the green urban logistics sector.

Consulting and Advisory Services:

International organisations Such as the European Union or United Nations and the International Transport Forum are coordinating international efforts to address climate change and promote sustainable transportation.

Industry associations and networks:

Theese communities aim at knowledge sharing, and professional development. European Green Cities Network, European Logistics Association (ELA), and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) offer platforms for collaboration and information exchange.

Areas in career advancement to evolve in the green urban logistics

To enhance sustainable company operations collaborating with internal teams, external partners and technology vendors can help logistics companies by piloting and scaling innovative solutions that improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

Sustainable supply chain management aims at reducing the carbon footprint of the company’s operations, developing and implementing strategies to optimize supply chain networks, engaging with suppliers on sustainability initiatives, tracking and reporting on key performance indicators related to environmental impact, implementing green logistics practices such as efficient inventory management, packaging optimization, and waste reduction.

Green fleet managemenet uses technologies to improve efficiency in managing and optimizing fleet of vehicles to minimize environmental impact, and reduce emissions, by implementing efficient routing and scheduling systems, and adopting sustainable maintenance practices.

Dealing with environmental compliance and regulatory affairs may involve conducting environmental audits, managing permits and certifications, as well as advocating for policies and practices that support sustainability goals and getting involved with industry associations, working groups and regulatory forums focusing on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Last-mile delivery management explores innovative approaches such as electric vehicles, cargo bikes, and delivery consolidation schemes to optimize urban delivery operations involving cooperation with local actors.

European urban mobility initiatives

The CIVITAS network provides funding, technical assistance, and knowledge exchange opportunities to cities across Europe to help them develop and implement innovative solutions for sustainable urban transportation, including green city logistics, by promoting cleaner urban freight vehicles and more efficient goods distribution.

URBANE will support the transition path towards effective, resilient, safe and sustainable last-mile transport.

The Urban Freight Platform (UFP) is a European network that brings together stakeholders from academia, industry, government, and the non-profit sector to exchange knowledge and best practices in urban freight transportation. It provides cities and regions with a platform to address challenges, share best practices, and enhance collaboration with companies, prioritizing topics and expediting innovative solutions facilitate discussions on urban freight challenges, they are also fostering collaboration among POLIS members and beyond for sustainable solutions..

As a member of the Alliance for Logistics Innovation in Europe (ETP-ALICE), POLIS fosters public-private dialogue through annual online webinars and in-person meetings to devise cleaner, more efficient urban logistics solutions.

Assessment of digital tools and guides to greening courier/postal/delivery operations.

To enhance the greening of courier, postal and delivery operations through digital tools and guides, several initiatives and solutions have been identified, promoting sustainability and efficiency. Here are some key examples along with references for further exploration:

Route Optimization Softwares

Route optimization softwares play a crucial role in minimizing the environmental impact of delivery operations. By efficiently planning delivery routes, these tools significantly reduce mileage and, consequently, fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The optimization not only includes the shortest path but also considers traffic conditions, delivery windows, and vehicle capacity, ensuring the most efficient use of resources.

Examples: Routific, Upper Route Planner

Benefits: These tools help in reducing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions by optimizing delivery routes.

For more details, you can visit the Routific website and Upper Route Planne website.

Carbon Footprint Calculators

Carbon footprint calculators enable businesses to measure their emissions across various activities, including logistics and transportation. By quantifying their carbon footprint, companies can identify high-emission areas and strategize on reduction initiatives. These tools often adhere to international standards, providing a reliable methodology for tracking and reporting emissions.

Examples: Carbon Trust Calculator

Benefits: Enables businesses to measure their carbon emissions, focusing on transportation and logistics operations.

Explore the Carbon Trust’s tools for measuring and managing emissions.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) and E-Bikes

The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and e-bikes for deliveries is a significant step toward greening courier and postal operations. Companies like DHL and UPS are leading the way by incorporating electric vehicles into their fleets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, especially in urban areas. E-bikes offer an efficient alternative for smaller, local deliveries, navigating city streets more effectively than traditional vehicles.

Benefits: Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and urban pollution.

Insights can be found in the sustainability reports on DHL’s and UPS’s corporate sites.

Sustainability Guides and Best Practices

Guides and best practices from organizations like the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and insights from consultancy firms such as Boston Consulting Group (BCG) provide a framework for implementing sustainable practices in courier and postal operations. These resources cover a broad range of topics, from digital transformation to adopting green logistics strategies, offering valuable guidance for companies looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Benefits: Offer frameworks for reducing environmental impact while maintaining service quality.

The UPU’s initiatives and BCG’s latest thinking on sustainability provide comprehensive guidance.

Packaging Innovation

Sustainable packaging solutions are critical for reducing waste and promoting a circular economy. Innovations in packaging, including the use of biodegradable or recyclable materials, are essential in minimizing the environmental footprint of shipping and delivery. Companies like Packhelp are at the forefront of this movement, offering sustainable packaging options that meet the needs of modern e-commerce and delivery services.

Benefits: Promotes a reduction in waste production and supports a circular economy.

Visit Packhelp for examples of sustainable packaging solutions.

Digital Mail and E-Commerce Platforms

The rise of digital mail and e-commerce platforms has the potential to significantly reduce the need for physical mail, cutting down on paper use and the associated logistics of mail delivery. By transitioning to digital invoices, bills, and communications, companies can decrease their paper consumption, contributing to forest conservation and reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional mail.

Benefits: Reduces paper usage and the logistics demand for delivering mail and handling product returns.

Research articles and industry reports on digital transformation’s impact are widely available through academic and professional publications.

Adopting these tools and practices significantly contributes to greening operations in the courier and postal sector, aligning with global sustainability goals. Each reference provides a starting point for deeper exploration into the specific areas of interest within the sustainability and digital transformation landscapes.

 

Planning for sustainable cities with green urban logistics

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