The Journey to Net-Zero: Reducing scope 3 transportation and distribution related emissions

A summary of the key takeaways from a recent webinar on reducing scope 3 transportation and distribution emissions.

Shoosmiths is delighted to be sponsoring United Nation Global Compact Network (UNGC) UK’s series of webinars on ‘Reducing Scope 3 Emissions’.

This webinar featured guest speakers: Andrew Davenport, Head of Distribution Zone Europe, Nestlé; Oliver Hurrey, Founder and Chair, Scope 3 Peer Group; and Olwen Smith, Global Lead – Commit to Action Programme, CDP, and Member of the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Corporate Engagement Team.

  • Category 4 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard addresses Scope 3 emissions associated with a company’s upstream transportation and distribution (T&D) activities and Category 9 addresses downstream T&D emissions.
    • Upstream activities include the T&D of purchased products between a company’s tier 1 suppliers and its own operations in vehicles not owned or operated by the reporting company. It also includes purchased T&D services, including inbound and outbound logistics.
    • Downstream activities include the T&D of sold products in vehicles not owned or operated by the reporting company, as well as retail and storage activities.
  • Companies should cover well-to-wheel emissions (all emissions related to fuel production, processing, distribution, and use) in their target boundary when setting Scope 3 T&D-related emissions reductions targets.
  • Measurement is key to carbon emissions reductions. Nestlé measures transport emissions through an IT system which collects primary data from internal sources and transport providers about inbound and outbound journeys, for example, where the journey originated and ended, what kind of vehicle and fuel type was used, weight of shipment, etc.
    • This information is then processed through EcoTransIT World, a GLEC-certified external calculation engine, which determines the carbon impact of every journey.
    • Nestlé then utilises this for reporting and analytics.
  • There are several challenges associated with measuring T&D-related emissions, including:
    • Invisible transport flows (organised and executed by third parties);
    • Capturing empty kilometers (where no goods are transported);
    • Determining accurate vehicle and fuel type; and
    • Understanding what happens to the transport en-route (particularly when using intermodal transport).
  • Nestlé has a three-part approach to decarbonising their logistics activities:
    • Avoid – reduce unnecessary transport by optimising product density in vehicles, reducing empty truck space, and linking inbound and outbound transport.
    • Shift – switch to alternative modes (like rail) and explore energy efficient options.
    • Improve – use lowest emission fuels to increase efficiency. For example, increase the use of hydrogen, electric, and bio-LNG.
  • In the short-term, the largest opportunities for improvement involve avoiding operational inefficiency.
  • Collaboration across the transport sector is key to accurate measurement and long-term reduction of T&D-related emissions. The Scope 3 Peer Group convenes stakeholders across industries to discuss challenges and brainstorm solutions. More information on joining the sessions can be found by emailing Oliver Hurrey.


To register for other events in the ‘Reducing Scope 3 Emissions’ webinar series, please visit our website.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.


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