Nobody wants to reinvent the wheel and it is likely that everyone prefers to learn from the mistakes of others. Freight decarbonization is an area where duplication of efforts and mistakes often occur, given the very fragmented landscape of stakeholders, the ever-growing number of initiatives and solutions, and the increased spotlight and urgency for decarbonization of this industry.
As a global non-profit organization on a mission to decarbonize the freight and logistics sector, collaboration with other sector initiatives has always been key to Smart Freight Centre (SFC). At SFC, one of our leading principles is to build on what exists, and through collaboration bring that to the next level. This is the approach we have taken while developing and updating the GLEC Framework. We built the Framework on existing methodologies and collaborated with leading experts from different stakeholder groups to make sure that the GLEC Framework could become the industry standard for freight and logistics emissions calculations. We succeeded with that, as the freight element of the forthcoming ISO 14083 is built on the GLEC Framework.
Collaboration has been the golden thread throughout many other successes of SFC. All our guidance documents and training materials were created with the support of industry practitioners, academia and relevant expert organizations whom we have consulted via the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC). Always having an eye on the right balance of science and practice, we worked and worked on several different guidance documents to support the industry to decarbonize freight and logistics activities. To mention some examples:
- With CCAC, we have developed the Black Carbon Methodology for the Logistics Sector.
- With ALICE, we worked on the Roadmap towards Zero Emissions Logistics 2050.
- With WBCSD, we developed the Smart Freight Procurement Guidelines which we then complimented with the Smart Freight Procurement Questionnaire and Manual.
- In collaboration with the World Economic Forum, we are currently developing a Framework to incentivize freight transportation greenhouse gas emission reduction activities.
Thanks to the trust we gained from the industry and our partners through the years, leading companies asked us to help streamline existing efforts and initiatives of the industry. They asked us to create a platform where they can come to collaborate on concrete decarbonization projects with their peers and partners, obtain relevant freight decarbonization insights, and track and accelerate progress toward zero-emissions freight. These were companies which already went alone and reached fast (low hanging) success, but now they want to join forces to get further and to scale their impact in collaboration with others. This led us to establish the Sustainable Freight Buyers Alliance (SFBA) in collaboration with BSR and the Word Economic Forum and with the support of the We Mean Business Coalition.
To attain net-zero freight transport, the sector must transition to a sustainable freight system in which players take collective responsibility and act simultaneously. Led by SFC, SFBA aims to bring about system change in the freight and logistics sector by leveraging networks to catalyze collaboration and provide an overview of solutions. Via these collaborations, we aim to fast-track innovation and scale-up impactful collaborative freight decarbonization projects. We will also be very well positioned to inform and engage companies in policy dialogue related to freight decarbonization. This is the most relevant connection point for us with SLOCAT. Connecting Nationally Determined Contributions of countries with science-based targets and strategies of large companies will be crucial in the coming years to influence and track efforts towards freight decarbonization. We trust that SFC’s collaboration with SLOCAT will help companies and countries to align and enhance their freight decarbonization efforts.
Policy will become an integrated element of SFBA as we aim to map and keep up-to-date information about existing policy and subsidy systems with the support of our partners, as this information will feed into concrete collaborative projects of SFBA. At the same time, some of these projects will identify policy gaps which we will then communicate as coherent and enabling policy asks to relevant policy advocacy partners like SLOCAT to make sure that it reaches governments.
By aggregating enough influence from freight purchasers, SFBA will create a flywheel of progress which will consequently promote innovation, cost reduction of sustainable solutions, unlock investments, and establish a critical number of companies backing enabling policy asks. We are optimistic and excited about the years to come, and we are happy that we can continue our journey toward zero-emissions freight in collaboration with SLOCAT, without reinventing the wheel.