A new French law requires transport providers to report emissions for the first time.
In the latest battle against climate change, the French government now requires all companies transporting goods into and from France to reveal the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted during the journey.
The new law, effective from the beginning of October, is aimed at tackling
the growing problem of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by the transport sector.
It’s the first of its kind in Europe and will likely lead importers and
exporters to rethink their transport options.
“Companies are becoming more aware of the carbon footprint of their supply
chains,” says Philippe Maesen, operational sustainable development project
manager at Bolloré Logistics in France. “Many want to make their logistics more
sustainable and demonstrate their green credentials.”
The French government hopes the new law will help it reduce transport sector
emissions by 20 percent by 2050. There is some way to go. Transport ranks the
biggest source of greenhouse gases in France with 25.3 percent of all GHG
emissions, according to the government (ninety-five percent of these emissions
are from road transport).
For now, France is focusing on reporting requirements. Under the new rules,
all types of transport providers from bus and train companies to taxis and
freight forwarders must inform their clients of the CO2 emissions generated by
the journey within two months of providing the service.
The provider can choose how it calculates and communicates these emissions.
At Bolloré Logistics, for example, the information is consolidated by operation,
so that clients receive their total carbon footprint for sending goods from say
Paris to Hong Kong, says Maesen. Clients receive the information through SDV’s
online tracking system, he adds.
The calculation tools used by the Bolloré Group are verified by an
independent company, Bureau Veritas. The rules have to be “honest, coherent and
transparent,” Maesen says.
The emissions are calculated using averages for each form of transport. At
the top of the scale, transportation by long-haul airfreight emits 1 238 grams
of CO2 per ton-kilometre while transport by sea freight emits 13.4 grams. Heavy
goods trucks, meanwhile, emit a high average 83 grams of CO2.
SDV first started calculating CO2 emissions for its clients in 2010 as part
of its SAVE PROGRAM that helps companies improve their environmental
performance. Maesen estimates that last year alone, SDV produced around 200
tailor-made CO2 reports for its clients.
It’s unclear whether the legal requirement to declare greenhouse gas
emissions in France will speed up the introduction of a carbon tax for the
transport industry, says Maesen, although the trend is clearly in that direction.