Using a CO2 calculator for transport and logistics

Moving train in Moldova

Understand how shipping goods influences your carbon footprint

All companies involved in shipping goods have a significant role to play in the fight against climate change by reducing their carbon footprint. But any carbon dioxide reduction activities start with accurate insight into the current carbon footprint, which is why businesses in the transport and logistics sector are turning to tools such as a CO2 calculator.

As the fight against climate change gains momentum, the emission of carbon dioxide is increasingly attracting attention as an area of environmental concern, as illustrated by the Paris Climate Agreement. Additionally, under the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, a growing number of businesses will soon be required to accurately calculate, monitor and report on the carbon emissions generated both by themselves and elsewhere in their supply chains.

co2 calculator
supply chain sustainability waves

The impact of shipping goods

Besides the movement of passengers, the shipping of goods contributes heavily to these emissions due to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released from all modes of transportation: road, rail, water and air. Moreover, the transport and logistics sector not only generates direct emissions – such as those resulting from the burning of fuel during a trip – but also indirect emissions, such as the emissions generated in the production and distribution of the fuel.

A large share of transport-related emissions are generated during the movement of goods from one stock point or distribution point to another. This makes the end-to-end supply chain – from the point of origin until receipt by the end user – a hotbed of carbon emissions. In fact, on average, supply chain emissions account for two-thirds of a company’s total carbon emissions. Therefore, it makes sense for businesses that own, ship or sell goods to take a closer look at their physical distribution process, identify high-emission areas and take steps to make improvements.

By monitoring emissions from their logistics operations, businesses can find ways to reduce their environmental impact. But everything starts with a baseline measurement of the current footprint. This is where a carbon calculator comes into play.

Calculate your co2 footprint
The basic formula for calculating transportation carbon emissions is to multiply the amount of fuel consumed by the emission factor of the fuel type. The amount of fuel consumed depends on the vehicle type, the distance traveled, and the fuel efficiency.

Calculating the carbon footprint is also about understanding the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of weight, per lane, per customer or per shipment.

CO2 calculator for transport

A CO2 calculator for transport is the ideal tool for businesses looking to gain insights into their transport-related carbon footprint in order to identify possible sustainability-related improvements. Fortunately, various tools are already available, such as the one from BigMile.

However, calculating the carbon footprint is not only about quantifying the overall emissions. It is also about understanding the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of weight, per lane, per customer or per shipment. A deeper understanding of these parameters is crucial, both to help businesses themselves to focus on key high-emission areas and take appropriate measures accordingly, and also as a benchmark for other companies, both within the transport chain and within the industry in general.

Therefore, in addition to providing a general view, a CO2 calculator for transport can be used to conduct deeper analysis into specific shipments, customers, subcontractors, periods and/or regions. The CO2 emissions calculator for transport takes several factors into account, including:

  • the weight expressed as metric tons of the shipped freight
  • the distance travelled
  • the type of transport used
  • the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
 By carefully assessing these variables, the tool can offer precise calculations as the basis for interpreting the data and highlighting potential improvements. 
The carbon calculation tool also supports accountability and communication because it enables companies including cargo owners, shippers, carriers and freight forwarders to report on their emissions progress to all stakeholders, including supply chain partners, customers and legal compliance.

Start now

The transport and logistics sector has already made significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the global fight against climate change. Tools like the CO2 calculator for transport are indispensable for businesses looking for a detailed understanding of their environmental impact as a way to not only fulfil their compliance responsibilities, but also improve their supply chain visibility, meet their sustainability goals and ultimately gain a competitive advantage. Armed with this knowledge, they can continue to work towards further reducing their carbon footprints, thus contributing to a greener, more sustainable world.

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