In order to hit ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions by 2020 carriers need to play their part in helping meet these aims.

Last month the British Retail Consortium published the latest figures surrounding its ‘A Better Retail Climate’ initiative, whose participants represent approximately half of the retail industry in the UK.

The statistics suggest that progress is being made, with retailers achieving a 13% reduction in carbon emissions between 2005 and 2014, meaning they are halfway towards the target of a 25% reduction by 2020.

As retailers undertake new measures to become more energy efficient and to reduce waste, carriers also have a major responsibility to become more sustainable, especially when you consider the extensive transport networks that are in constant operation.

Corporate social responsibility is high on the agenda at Hermes and we are dedicated to cutting carbon emissions and therefore reducing our impact on the environment. Last year we launched an initiative to significantly slash emissions from our courier vehicles in central London, which earned praise from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Reducing emissions in the supply chain

Working in partnership with Gnewt Cargo, we now use a 44-strong fleet of 100% electric, zero-emission vehicles, making carbon and nitrogen emission savings of 100% for ‘last mile delivery’ within the city. As a result, the business expects to save approximately 146 tonnes of carbon a year.

These Renault Kangoo ZE vehicles are powered by sustainably sourced electricity and they provide zero tailpipe emissions and silent motoring that is ideal for commercial use within urban environments. The official range of 105 miles (78 miles in real-world usage in temperate conditions) means that the vast majority of van users’ daily driving can be done on one charge.

Ultra Low Electric Vehicles form a key part of improving air quality within the city and Hermes is pleased to be able to contribute to the long-standing objective of creating a greener London.

Commenting on the news, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Hermes is setting a fantastic example for London’s logistics companies, all of whom have their part to play in helping to improve London’s air quality. It is an urgent challenge, which affects the health and wellbeing of all Londoners.

“Under the world’s most ambitious and comprehensive set of measures, we have already taken thousands of the most polluting buses and taxis off the streets, and are planning the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London from 2020.

“By doing their bit, Hermes too is helping to create cleaner, greener, more breathable air for every Londoner.”

At Hermes, we applaud the effort the retail industry is making to become greener, and the latest figures certainly show that it is on the right track. Now it is important for carriers to remain focused on reducing their own emissions as we focus on creating a more sustainable supply chain.

  • Carole Woodhead, chief executive, Hermes