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DHL launches green carrier certification

Subcontractors rewarded for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Deutsche Post DHL Group is ending 2021 with another sustainability announcement. The Bonn, Germany-headquartered delivery company introduced a green carrier certification last week as part of its sustainability road map.

The certification was designed to reward DHL’s road transport subcontractors that are taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

DHL has a target to reduce GHG emissions to below 29 million tons by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The green carrier certification focuses on road transport, which is responsible for about 21% of the group’s total emissions, according to a release.

As supply chain companies strive to reduce emissions, the industry has recognized that working with transportation providers, suppliers and partners along the entire chain is key. 

Those scope 3 emissions account for a large amount of emissions along the supply chain and addressing them is an important part of a company’s environmental strategy, a spokesperson at DHL told FreightWaves. And, the representative said, scope 3 emissions are often the most difficult to reduce due to the lack of standardized reporting and the challenge that suppliers have capturing that data.

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“Decarbonizing trade lanes and supply chains is a joint effort and has to be built on transparency and collaboration. With our DHL green carrier certification, we have implemented uniform and transparent criteria when it comes to cooperating with our ground carriers going forward. This approach brings us all another step closer to our ambitious goal of true climate-neutral transport,” Andreas Mündel, senior vice president of strategy and operation programs at Deutsche Post DHL Group, said in a statement.

DHL evaluates service providers based on whether they:

  • Have an environmental or sustainability strategy in place. 
  • Measure their GHG emissions.
  • Are transparent with their data.
  • Have implemented basic emissions-reduction strategies, such as low rolling resistance tires, aerodynamic enhancements and idle cutoff.

DHL’s internal auditing process will use an online platform with the relevant information to group subcontractors into one of the four categories: pass, good, excellent or outstanding.

The certification will help identify road transport subcontractors that already operate sustainably, and DHL said it should encourage more to invest in green technologies.

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Certification and expansion

DHL’s road freight provider, DHL Freight, has surveyed more than 600 service partners in Germany, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands since the beginning of 2021. The partners were evaluated on their sustainability performance, and Girteka Logistics, a Lithuania-based road freight provider, was among the first carriers to be certified.

“We are proud to be one of the first forwarding companies to receive this certificate. It encourages us to continue focusing more on alternative drive technologies in the future,” Pavel Kveten, COO for Europe at Girteka Logistics, said in the release.

The worldwide rollout of the certification program is set for 2022. DHL divisions will survey subcontractors in other countries and award them the corresponding levels of certification in the next few months.

A green carrier certification program has existed for DHL Global Forwarding’s ocean and air freight services for 10 years, so this expansion should flow into the current program.

DHL Express has received positive feedback from carriers where it has implemented the certification as part of the tendering process for ground transportation, according to the release.

“It’s great to see a large firm like DHL pushing boundaries in sustainable freight. They’re clearly committed and working to drive adoption of green technologies within their internal and external road network. Transparent benchmarking is really important and also really difficult. Hopefully this initiative is a catalyst for industrywide adoption of green freight standards,” said Tyler Cole, director of carbon intelligence at FreightWaves.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Alyssa Sporrer.

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Alyssa Sporrer

Alyssa is a staff writer at FreightWaves, covering sustainability news in the freight and supply chain industry, from low-carbon fuels to social sustainability, emissions & more. She graduated from Iowa State University with a double major in Marketing and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about all things environmental and enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and soccer.