Sustainability has become one of the most pressing issues of our time. Surveys show that this topic is becoming increasingly important for shipping and logistics companies. This is because ecological, economic and social aspects are intertwined. Together they ensure that logistics becomes more resource-friendly, more efficient and more employee-friendly.
The BVL Congress, which is taking place digitally this week from October 21 to 23, 2020, will be devoting a great deal of attention to this topic. “Sustainable design – Winning the Next Decade” is the motto under which hundreds of interested parties from the industry will engage in online discussions.
More customers are focusing on sustainability
DB Schenker is also represented in the forums to represent and voice the views of Europe’s leading logistics provider. “The topic is currently meeting with enormous interest, we are receiving a lot of customer inquiries about it,” says Andrea Schön, Senior Manager Climate and Clean Air Management at Schenker AG. “Because of the corona pandemic and its effects on society and the economy, I believe that logistics companies are increasingly looking into how they can act more sustainably. Industry and trade are increasingly recognizing that their supply chains should be as robust as possible. They are therefore increasingly scrutinizing them for social and ecological risks.
With regard to the social aspects, companies will have to prepare for a supply chain law in the coming years, whether from Germany or at the European level. This is intended to improve working conditions and social standards in supply chains worldwide.
Commitment to the climate targets in the transport sector
With regard to ecology, on the other hand, two fundamental changes will affect logistics companies in the coming years. Because traffic causes 19 percent of the total CO2 emissions, these must be massively reduced in order to achieve the agreed upon climate targets.
This means that supply chains must become increasingly transparent in order to map the origin and carbon footprint of shipments or the supply chain. Digitization, which is already well advanced in some companies, is helping to achieve this. Car manufacturers Volvo and Daimler, for example, use special block chain processes to document the origin of the raw material cobalt. Cobalt is important for the battery production of electric vehicles, but often comes from regions where working conditions are inhumane. With block chain, manufacturers want to prove that the regions of origin are clean.
This seamless documentation of supply chains also makes it possible to calculate – and price – the CO2 emissions generated during transport. How this is done and what standards and instruments are available for emissions accountability will be discussed at the BVL Congress both from a scientific and practical perspective.
Fossil fuels become more expensive
For this is the second change in the coming years: in 2021, emissions trading in Germany will start with a fixed CO2 price of 25 euros per ton. This will make fossil fuels in the transport sector more expensive and the production of electricity from renewable sources cheaper. This topic will also be hotly debated at the congress. More and more logistics companies are using alternative drive systems in their vehicles. For example, DB Schenker will deploy 36 additional FUSO eCanter trucks in urban shipping by the end of the year. But there are still no marketable and comprehensive alternatives to diesel-powered heavy trucks for long-distance transport.
The requirements for more sustainability are challenging the entire logistics industry to undergo a far-reaching structural change. “But it is not the first structural change we are experiencing. If we take, for example, the experiences from the energy transition in recent years, we see a profoundly changed market due to technological change,” says Andrea Schön. “The big players were very quickly left behind at the beginning. Small and flexible start-ups took over market shares. But large companies that had opened up to digital and new business models early on were able to survive the structural change well.
“Sustainability at the BVL Congress: We are joining the discussion! DB Schenker is showing what is already possible today – and where the limits of sustainable transport are. #DBSchenker #dlk20“Tweet WhatsApp
An issue that concerns society as a whole
“Our economic sector bears responsibility for positively shaping the future – in national and international value-added networks, in location decisions, use of technology, qualifications and political course-setting,” says BVL CEO Prof. D.Eng. Thomas Wimmer in the announcement to the congress: “Sustainable logistics has become a social issue!
Even in its purely digital form, the congress promises exciting discussions.