What Your Shipping Carbon Footprint Means and How to Calculate It

Apr 18, 2022

3 min read

You want to ship smart and sustainably – while also maximizing your profit. First step? Calculate and understand your carbon footprint.

Why start there?

Knowing where your footprint stands gives you a baseline to measure all ‘green’ supply chain initiatives and sustainability agendas against.

We know it can be challenging for shippers to know where to start but as the carbon crisis becomes a top customer priority, it’s expected for shippers to estimate and communicate their carbon footprints publicly. Which is now top priority for you. Customers are looking to align with companies that are transparent in their commitments to reduce carbon emissions and be environmentally sustainable.

So, here’s everything you need to help you understand the carbon emissions associated with your shipping business, how to calculate them, and what tools are at your disposal to enhance your sustainability efforts. (With the added benefit of meeting customer expectations.)

 

What is a carbon footprint?

It’s how the greenhouse gases (GHG) your business produces are measured. And a measurable greenhouse gas primarily associated with shipping, is carbon dioxide, but methane and nitrous oxide are also monitored forms of GHGs.

Carbon dioxide is generated by burning fossil fuels (crude oil, coal, natural/derived gas, petrol, diesel, and other non-renewable waste.) These emissions enter the atmosphere from a warehouse or manufacturing facility, transportation vehicles, or an any other supply chain activity that burns fossil fuels.

Here’s a quick video breakdown!

 

Why is your shipping carbon footprint important? 

Carbon footprinting and emissions accountability is becoming standard for shippers and more important than ever to consumers as eCommerce continues to explode. But let’s be honest – we don’t need to explain the gravity of the climate crisis and what role we play in saving the planet. The attention to the environmental impact of parcel shipping is at an all-time high, and consumers aren’t just tired of businesses greenwashing – they expect real solutions to many unsustainable issues along the supply chain.

And who wouldn’t when the transportation sector (including shipping) is becoming the largest contributor to greenhouse gases – EPA reports a contribution of over 29% of global emissions. In fact, eCommerce parcel is only adding to the problem as shippers and carriers try to crank out orders quickly to satisfy customers’ demands.

Last mile delivery is so environmentally impactful, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that both parcel and freight contributed 19 million tonnes of carbon emissions throughout the top 100 largest cities (globally). Moreover, they reported that without proper infrastructure and policy intervention, they expect that figure to rise to over 25 million tonnes.

 

Why is last mile delivery so impactful to your shipping carbon footprint?

Larger shipment volumes + more shipments = greater carbon emissions/waste.

Consumer demand is skyrocketing, and that means more packages are being delivered at a higher frequency. So when speed is just as important as demand itself, it’s a recipe for carbon emission disaster.

Because faster delivery is made possible when more delivery vehicles are ‘on the road’, and speed is prioritized over space. The results are trucks that aren’t being filled to their full capacity to ensure more deliveries are made. It’s inefficient and environmentally harmful. And when there’s more delivery vehicles, carbon emissions increase – and so does traffic. Great!

That’s just the transportation and delivery aspect of the supply chain.

Topics: Ecofriendly, Environmentally Friendly, Supply Chain
Topics

Check out related resources at Sifted.

Monumental Rate Hikes: 2023 FedEx General Rate Increase (GRI) Analysis

Monumental Rate Hikes: 2023 FedEx General Rate Increase (GRI) Analysis

Another year of record-breaking carrier increases. FedEx just released a 6.9% 2023 General Rate Increase (GRI). ...
Read More >
Improving Inventory Accuracy: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Improving Inventory Accuracy: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

What is inventory accuracy? Inventory accuracy is a metric that shows the difference between the amount of ...
Read More >
Everything You Need to Know About Parcel Shipping vs. Freight Shipping

Everything You Need to Know About Parcel Shipping vs. Freight Shipping

What is the definition of parcel? 59 million parcels are shipped daily in the United States alone, with numerous ...
Read More >
5 Ways Manufacturers Can Future-Proof Their Network for Greater Efficiency

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Future-Proof Their Network for Greater Efficiency

Over the past year, manufacturers’ durable goods shipments have risen by almost 12%, and new orders are up by 11%. ...
Read More >
How Same-day Delivery is Revolutionizing Parcel Logistics

How Same-day Delivery is Revolutionizing Parcel Logistics

Brief History of Parcel Logistics For thousands of years, goods transportation has played an important role in ...
Read More >
7 Parcel Shipping Companies: What’s Best for Your Business?

7 Parcel Shipping Companies: What’s Best for Your Business?

Things to Consider for Parcel Shipping Companies When it comes to selling online, finding the best parcel shipping ...
Read More >
Just How Bad Will 2023 General Rate Increases Be? Here Are Our Top Predictions

Just How Bad Will 2023 General Rate Increases Be? Here Are Our Top Predictions

Inflation, labor shortages, high fuel costs, and unprecedented demand for shipping capacity will all play a role ...
Read More >
When to Use Regional Parcel Carriers

When to Use Regional Parcel Carriers

Disruptions in the Parcel Sector The COVID-19 pandemic led to vast eCommerce supply chain and delivery service ...
Read More >
How Zone Skipping Can Transform Your Parcel Fulfillment Strategy

How Zone Skipping Can Transform Your Parcel Fulfillment Strategy

What is zone skipping? The high shipping cost of cross-country shipping is one of the biggest problems for ...
Read More >
6 Companies Innovating Eco-Friendly Packaging

6 Companies Innovating Eco-Friendly Packaging

What is considered sustainable packaging? Sustainable packaging uses packaging composed of materials that have a ...
Read More >
Everything You Need to Know About 4PLs

Everything You Need to Know About 4PLs

What is fourth-party logistics (4PL)? A 4PL or fourth-party logistics provider also referred to as a lead ...
Read More >
2022 Peak Season Surcharge Guide [FedEx, UPS, USPS, & Amazon]

2022 Peak Season Surcharge Guide [FedEx, UPS, USPS, & Amazon]

Christmas in…September? FedEx is making fast moves this year with their early Peak Season release. Some charges ...
Read More >

How Sifted Works

Connect to
your account

Sync
your data

Power your
dashboards

Get Your Logistics
Intelligence Demo

Strategic ways to prevent loss down the line

Services you could be utilizing right now for savings

Ways to cut material costs without cutting quality

Are you an FBM (fulfillment by merchant) Amazon seller?

Check out our Marketplace Intelligence solutions to protect your bottom line.

Shipping Insights & Alerts
Get updates and track the things impacting your business most

Decision Support
See how supply chain adjustments pay off before you pay out

Carrier Management
Streamline how you manage your carrier operations and contracts

Business Automation
Let software do what it does better than people can

Seller Insights
Measure and monitor with confidence.

Sales Visualization
Shed new light on your sales data.

Cost Impact Analyzer
Understand the impact of ever-changing FBA fees.

FBA Audit & Recovery
Secure money you’re owed from Amazon.

Blog
Discover news, tips, and industry best practices

DIM Weight Calculator
See how DIM is impacting you

Customer Stories
Learn how other brands use
Logistics Intelligence

Carbon Calculator
Calculate your CO2 Emissions

Guides
Download free reports and expert how-tos

Demo
Get a personalized tour of our software

Logistics Intelligence
For parcel shippers

Marketplace Intelligence
For Amazon FBA sellers