Decarbonisation: Focus on what you can do, not what you can't

Alex Smith
By Alex Smith on 30 September 2021
Decarbonisation: Focus on what you can do, not what you can't

From generating renewable energy to introducing recyclable packaging, improving air quality and rewarding drivers for fuel-efficient driving, DPD has been implementing measures to make its business operations more sustainable for many years.

Olly Craughan, head of corporate social responsibility at DPD Group, will share insights into all elements of the company’s approach when he speaks at InternetRetailing Expo (IRX) on 13 October. He will present a session entitled ‘Sustainability in the final mile; a green approach to meeting customer expectations’ as part of the ‘Delivery Excellence’ stream at the conference.

While DPD has made impressive progress in all areas, decarbonisation has been a major focus for the company and will continue to be for the next few years. Since 2017 it has been introducing more electronic vehicles and by August 2020, it had achieved its target of electrifying 10 per cent of its fleet. DPD’s new project, Vision 25, aims to be delivering all parcels by electric vehicles in the 25 most populated cities in the UK by 2025 . Oxford became the first city in July 2021 and by the end of the year, DPD will have fully electric fleets operating in at least nine more city fleets will be completely electronic, as well as 1,600 electric vehicles nationwide.

“We’ll soon be delivering 100 million parcels per year and to 25 per cent of the UK population with electric vehicles,” says Craughan.

An important factor that is assisting DPD to move to electric vehicles is their increasing range – its latest vehicles can run for 150 miles on each charge. What makes them even more sustainable is that all 89 DPD sites in the UK use only renewable energy and the group has 1,600 solar panels on its sites which feed power back into the national grid when not used.

DPD is also actively looking at alternatives to diesel-powered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). It has 10 gas-powered trucks ordered and is monitoring the development of fully electronic HGVs which are currently very expensive. In the meanwhile, DPD is rewarding its HGV drivers for smart driving based on telematics.

The group is well on its way to achieving its target of decreasing its emissions by 30 per cent, having already achieved a 22 per cent reduction. To attain this goal, it is also working closely with local authorities to improve air quality by sharing information from its 420 air quality sensors.

Recycling is another key element of DPD’s ethos. The company does not send any of its waste to landfill and over 70 per cent is recycled. To avoid generating waste, DPD switched its Expresspak bag to one that is made with 80 per cent reclaimed material and is 100 per cent recyclable in 2019.

In addition, DPD has been collaborating with British online fashion retailer ASOS on a recycling initiative since April 2021. DPD drivers now collect unwanted clothing, which is passed on to five charities to prevent it from going to landfill.While DPD has made tremendous progress, Craughan recognises that the company and industry could achieve more.

“The electric charging infrastructure needs to improve and requires government grants and support, and more work is needed to bring down the cost of electric vehicles,” he says.

For now, Craughan’s advises industry colleagues to concentrate on what they can control.

“Focus on decarbonisation by switching to electronic vehicles and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.”

Olly Craughan is speaking at IRX and eDX taking place on 13 and 14 October 2021 at the NEC, Birmingham. Register for free.

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