It's not just environmentalists who feel the urgent need to do something about carbon emissions, but also their logistics counterparts. Indeed, the transport sector is the second-biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, and in the European Union (EU), the industry accounts for some 25 per cent of total emissions.
Doing its bit for the greater good, DHL launched the GOGREEN Carbon Neutral service globally in 2008. To neutralise carbon emissions generated during shipping, the company will purchase equivalent carbon credits in the carbon market.
'The carbon credits [we] purchased are both from high-quality verified emission reduction and certified emission reduction projects certified by the clean development mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,' says Romeo Gabato, GOGREEN regional lead at DHL Express Asia Pacific.
'With this service, customers can support their corporate sustainability goals, boost their environmental credibility and make a positive impact on climate change,' he adds.
Gabato says that once a DHL customer signs up to the GOGREEN Carbon Neutral service, shipments follow the normal standard procedures from pick-up through to delivery.
But after transporting the shipment, DHL quantifies the related carbon emissions and generates a carbon footprint report pertaining to the shipment through its patented methodology and systems that automatically calculate the equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2). The service is verified and audited by SGS.
The green projects include a biomass power plant in India, a landfill gas plant in Turkey, a hydro-power plant in Brazil, as well as wind power plants in China and Nicaragua.
'Taking the Lesotho project as an example of the [scheme's] social benefits, people who live in rural areas often use open fireplaces for cooking, but this requires a lot of firewood and, in addition to emitting CO2, produces huge quantities of smoke,' says Gabato.
DHL - known for its 'the power of yellow' slogan - invests in efficient wood-burning stoves called 'Save80', which cuts use of wood fuel by up to 80 per cent. Locals can buy the new stoves at reduced prices.
'The stoves are assembled onsite and maintained there, which creates additional employment for local people,' says Gabato, adding that the project could cut CO2 emission by 20,000 tonnes a year.
Together with other green initiatives such as the Carbon Footprint and the Carbon Estimate reports, DHL has set out to improve its carbon efficiency by 30 per cent between 2007 and 2020.
Apart from banks, multinationals and small and medium sized enterprises, DHL's staff are also key to the GOGREEN programme.
'Employee engagement helps ensure effective and sustainable implementation through behavioural change,' says Gabato.
With GOGREEN now fully integrated into its operations, DHL aims to get all its employees worldwide involved as soon as possible.