Unilever is joining many big international businesses in looking to cut down on their fuel use. There are strong economic and environmental imperatives behind these decisions. Truck journeys are expensive and increasingly so. Companies are also under pressure to cut their carbon emissions. With business and environmental reasons coinciding the time is ripe for such actions.
dietmut / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Unilever’s plans are ambitious. They believe they can cut 200 million kilometers a year in Europe by the end of 2014.
To do this they will partner with the European Commission to set up a new logistics system aimed at higher volume movements. The new system of transport hubs will be managed from Unilever’s logistics center in Katowice in Poland.
“Each hub will be responsible for reducing the number of vehicle kilometers driven, by ensuring that trucks are fuller as they travel across Europe from suppliers to factories and from factories to warehouses,” the company said in a statement, adding that “the project will use cutting-edge technology to maximize the load efficiency of the trucks in use”
Unilever has applied for €5.7m from the EU’s Marco Polo sustainable transport funding program. The company predicts cutting up to 154,000 journeys between Brussels and Warsaw with a reduction in emissions of 15,000 tonnes of CO2.
Things can certainly happen when economics, environmental concern, political will and funding all coincide.