The transport sector is responsible for a significant share of global CO2 emissions, a share that may even rise as the sector expands. Innovative technologies are needed and challenging policy issues must be resolved if the tide is to be turned. With expertise in areas like mobility, infrastructure, emissions, operational management and data-analysis, TNO builds the essential bridge between government and industry.
The European Union has determined that the rise in global temperature must be kept below 2 degrees Celsius if we are to contain the effects of climate change. If we are to achieve this target, industrialised countries and regions will have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in 2020 and 60-80% in 2050 compared with 1990 levels. Sustainable logistics is key to helping these targets to be achieved – through boosting industry profitability and reducing emissions at the same time.
The Lean & Green Award is one of the means whereby government encourages sustainable logistics. Companies whose business plan reveals that they can help to accelerate achieving the CO2 target can display this title, which is about taking measures to boost efficiency and reduce costs in aspects like the network used, choice of transport, use of technology, etc. The incentive programme falls under the denominator Connekt, a programme of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. As an independent party, TNO assesses the plans and monitors the implementation.
In the Carbon Footprint of Freight Transport (COFRET) project top scientists from ten European countries are working on a broadly applicable methodology to establish the emission of CO2, CH4, N2O and other greenhouse gases in transport chains. COFRET is an initiative of fourteen research organisations and is funded by the European Commission. TNO also has a distinctive role in this initiative, leading the study in which the methodology is established and contributing to the test and evaluation phase.
The Lean & Green Award, COFRET and various other initiatives over the next decade are central to hitting the climate targets. The challenge is to find an incentive in the longer term, too, which ensures that industry makes the transition on a large scale to more sustainable technology, behaviour and logistics organisation such that the demand for transport is reduced. This requires measures, tools and concepts that may not yet be applied in current business models. Sustainable logistics is a theme that is a springboard for TNO to use its knowledge and innovative power to help push through the changes that are needed.