A Beginner’s Guide to Carbon Neutral Shipping – Meaning, Process & Benefits

As the climate crisis worsens, we must do everything we can to protect our environment.

One of the most significant contributors to carbon emissions worldwide is transportation—especially when it comes to delivery businesses.

Shipping accounts for roughly 24% of carbon emissions in the world. That’s why many companies have made efforts to reduce their environmental impact while many still have a lot of work to do.

To reduce carbon emissions in delivery businesses and ensure no damage to our planet, more delivery businesses are participating in sustainable practices like carbon-neutral shipping.

In this article, we’ll discuss what carbon neutral shipping is. Why does it matter? And its process. 

What is Carbon Neutral Shipping? 

Carbon neutral shipping refers to practices that would potentially produce a net zero carbon dioxide amount—if executed correctly. These practices aim to reduce the carbon footprint that shipping entails.

Unfortunately, the transportation industry is a major contributor to carbon dioxide levels, which will only increase as the industry grows. In fact, the transportation and warehousing industry’s market size is expected to increase by 7.9% in 2022—so you understand why carbon-neutral shipping is becoming necessary. 

Why is it essential for your delivery business? 

The benefits of carbon neutral shipping are well-known, but many companies have been slow to implement carbon-neutral practices. 

Here’s how carbon-neutral shipping can prove advantageous to your delivery business. 

  • Customers prefer sustainable brands, and they are willing to pay more for brands that align with their values.
  • Implementing carbon neutral shipping by reducing inefficient deliveries—unnecessary electricity and fuel consumption, packaging, and back-and-forth shipping can save organizations high costs and enhance customer satisfaction and business productivity.
  • By protecting shared resources that allow all businesses to continue operating productively and profitably, carbon reduction safeguards the planet on which we live.

How Does the Carbon Neutral Delivery Process Work? 

Nowadays, more and more eco-conscious customers care about their environmental impact and support sustainable brands. By choosing carbon-neutral shipping, businesses and consumers can both benefit. 

The following steps will help companies to attain carbon-neutral shipping.

1. Check your carbon footprint

To reduce your carbon footprint, start measuring your emissions. 

First, list all the ways your shipping company consumes energy. 

  • Look at your energy bills to discover how much energy you consume and where the emissions come from. 
  • Gather information about your supply chain and the distances your personnel and goods must travel. 
  • Consult a professional with access to various algorithms for calculating carbon emissions based on this data. 
  • Alternatively, you can calculate the data using US (Environmental Protection Agencies) EPA’s online calculator.

2. Use sustainable packaging materials

You can reduce your carbon footprint by reducing pollution and using sustainable products. 

Look for eco-friendly packaging materials made from sustainable energy sources or recyclable materials. 

Businesses are finding it easier to find these materials as more companies place a focus on sustainability and carbon neutrality.

For example, it is now effortless to find biodegradable packing peanuts—an alternative to the less environmentally friendly polystyrene peanuts that many are familiar with.

3. Reduce the overall amount of packaging

When dealing with daily shipments, you should not overdo items by putting something small in a big box when you pack things. 

Conscious customers are quick to notice these things. You can save money on shipping costs if you minimize the packaging used for a lighter package (carbon neutral shipment).

4. Invest in carbon offsets

You can lower the carbon footprint and environmental impact of your business if you purchase carbon offsets. You do this by purchasing carbon credits to reduce your shipping activities’ carbon dioxide emissions. The concept of carbon offsets is tried-and-true because it is nearly impossible to eliminate carbon emissions during shipment.

5. Optimize transport and delivery

Transportation is one of the most significant contributors to your carbon footprint, so lowering it can significantly impact your overall impression. 

One way to do this is by leveraging route planning and optimization software to spend more time getting the work done than on the road. This will also reduce your fuel consumption, while efficient planning (like multi-stop routes) will ensure you get more deliveries done using fewer resources.

Some companies are already implementing all of this in a commendable way; let’s look at them.

Top Companies Adopting Carbon Neutral Shipping 

The logistics industry creates painfully massive carbon emissions. But some delivery services companies work hard to reduce carbon emissions and support a cleaner world, here they are-

1. DHL

DHL plans to cut local air pollution by 70% and greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2025. Not just that, it aims to cut down all logistics-related emissions to 0 by 2050

  • It provides “climate-neutral” green services that include carbon offsetting. 
  • It also invests in globally recognized climate protection projects to balance out businesses’ emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide and methane. 
  • Additionally, it provides guidance on energy-efficient systems for packaging, waste recycling, and warehousing.

2. DPD

DPD, the parcel delivery service, has committed to becoming carbon neutral. The company has already achieved 100% carbon-neutral parcel delivery across Europe.

  • It tracks and attempts to offset carbon dioxide emissions to make every delivery carbon neutral. 
  • To achieve this, it collaborates with EcoAct to analyze its carbon performance. 
  • It also funds renewable and cleaner energy environmental projects in India, Turkey, and Europe.

3. FedEx

FedEx focuses on sustainable practices and aims to boost the fuel efficiency of its vehicles by 50% by 2025 which has improved by 42% since 2005.

  • FedEx uses carbon neutral shipping envelopes. FedEx Express works with a not-for-profit offset provider that reduces, replaces, and neutralizes carbon for every envelope.
  • FedEx Electronic Trade Documents reduce the need to print and sign trade document copies, thereby reducing the environmental footprint.
  • FedEx packaging is majorly recyclable and contains recyclable materials.

Benefits of Carbon Neutral Shipping Process

The shipping industry and online retailers should think about C02-neutral shipping practices for several reasons. Here are a few advantages:

1. Financial savings and competitive advantage

Recently, a carbon price was implemented across Europe for greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. As the cost of emitting CO2 increases, so will the demand for technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This will impact logistics, the shipping process, and transportation. 

It will result in financial savings and a competitive advantage for companies that can reduce the amount of CO2 emissions.

2. Carbon-neutral shipping to draw potential  clients

Carbon-neutral shipping is an attractive benefit to consumers, and you can use this to your advantage by drawing in new customers, keeping them around, and boosting recommendations. You can reach out to new environmentally conscious customers by using carbon-neutral shipping. Shippers can also improve customer retention by adopting a carbon-neutral shipping policy.

How Does Upper Help You Develop Carbon Neutral Shipping Strategy? 

Upper is an environmentally friendly route planning and optimization software that works to lessen your climate impact on the environment and implement carbon neutral strategies, here’s how.

1. Route optimization to reduce miles and fuel costs

To lower your company’s carbon footprint, the best thing you can do is to reduce the number of miles your delivery drivers travel. Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. And the more miles you drive, the more greenhouse gases you release. Upper helps you lower mileage by using route optimization to find multi-stop shipping routes with the shortest distance.

2. Lets you share your ETA with customers

Upper helps you to send automatic notifications to customers for ETA and delivery status. This means your customers get messages throughout the day regarding their delivery, so they know when to expect it. 

It ensures that you do not have to try to deliver the same package many times if the customer cannot pick it up, which helps you lower your carbon emissions by reducing travel distance, thus reducing fuel consumption.

3. Advanced route planning features to avoid resources wastage

Using Excel or Google Maps to manually plan your routes can waste time and resources. These tools do not provide the accuracy or efficiency you need. Upper route planning software tells you the optimal route, so you get more deliveries done and spend less fuel and time on the road. This helps minimize waste and reduce carbon emissions too.

Take your first step towards carbon-neutral delivery by trying out our 7-day free trial.

Accomplish Your Carbon Shipping Goals

With Upper Route Planner by reducing your travel distance. Get the shortest routes in a matter of seconds and perform an eco-friendly shipping delivery hassle-free. Experience now!

FAQs

Carbon offset shipping is a shipping service that helps to pay for carbon dioxide released during operations and transport. It helps to eliminate the amount of net carbon dioxide created by shipping and then funds ecosystems that support protecting the planet.

BWB (Better World Books) offsets its shipping (greenhouse gas) emissions by purchasing carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates. This is known as carbon-balanced shipping. Each book just costs a few cents but the amount increases daily as thousands of customers buy.

Carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions that an individual, event, organzation, product, etc. causes. While carbon offsetting compensates for CO2 emissions by participating in schemes that make equivalent reduction of such emissions such as solar, wind, tidal energy, or reforestation.

Conclusion 

In an effort to make our world a better place, many companies have started reducing their carbon footprint. You too can explore carbon neutral shipping options for your business operations.

One way to reduce emissions is by ensuring that your delivery vehicles cut down the time your delivery vehicles spend on the road. To reduce your business carbon footprint, the best thing you can do is to drive fewer miles following optimized routes. Get cost-effective routes on Upper for your  multi-stop deliveries and reduce your long-haul journey

Upper makes it easy to optimize routes—so they can spend more time delivering goods instead of planning routes manually. With Upper, businesses save 40% on fuel costs and maintenance costs while reducing emissions that pollute our air and contribute to climate change.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner. A subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems, Rakesh has been involved in technology for 30+ years. Looking to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges, Rakesh started Upper Route Planner with the ultimate goal of simplistic operations in mind.

https://www.upperinc.com/guides/carbon-neutral-shipping/