Mission 2050: Zero Emissions

“Negotiating and taking action” is the guiding principle behind the Climate Change Conference in Bonn. 25,000 participants, coming from all around the world, are expected to attend the event from November 6–17, 2017. It will be the biggest international conference ever to take place in Germany.

Bonn is also where the Deutsche Post DHL Group has its headquarters – this global leader in the postal service and logistics industry is also a pioneer in sustainable transport and logistics. Through its “Mission 2050: Zero Emissions” campaign, the company intends to demonstrate how logistics businesses can help protect the climate. The objective of this new strategy is to reduce all emissions relating to transport to zero by 2050. “The United Nations has taken on the courageous goal of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius in relation to the global temperature prior to the Industrial Revolution. This is a very ambitious undertaking – some have even described it as impossible to achieve. However, that does not mean we shouldn’t try,” explains Dr. Frank Appel, chief executive officer of the Deutsche Post DHL Group.

“The Deutsche Post DHL Group has put its full conviction and support behind the United Nations’ objective; our new initiative is our contribution to achieving it. The time for us to become a trailblazer for sustainability is now.”
Dr. Frank Appel, chief executive officer of the Deutsche Post DHL Group

20,000 StreetScooters per year

As ambitious as it may seem, the “Mission 2050” plan is intended to be a success. The company has already proven its ability to set benchmarks for environmentally friendly logistics solutions with the StreetScooter. When no automotive manufacturer was able to provide an electric vehicle suitable for making deliveries, Deutsche Post bought Street Scooter GmbH – at the time, a start-up created through RWTH Aachen University – in December 2014, and was single-handedly producing delivery vans itself in no time at all. These days, Deutsche Post already has around 3,500 electrically powered vehicles in service, and it intends to expand the fleet considerably. In the future, up to 20,000 StreetScooters are planned to roll off the assembly lines at the Aachen and Düren plants per year. With this plan, the Group intends to help make e-mobility the new standard for the logistics industry.
On the road and emissions-free: GLS Bank board member Dirk Kannacher with one of 500 new StreetScooters that can now be leased by craft businesses and local authorities, for example. “We need cutting-edge mobility concepts that emphasize the sharing economy and clean power to protect our environment. The time for this is now.”
As part of this effort, the Deutsche Post DHL Group wants to enable other companies to have CO2-free travel and transport, too. To achieve this, the company has developed a leasing concept in collaboration with GLS Bank and COMCO Leasing Group which it recently introduced in October 2017. “Together, we help customers from a wide range of industries make the switch to electromobility. This lets us become sustainably successful together and helps us promote environmentally friendly logistics,” says Jürgen Gerdes, member of the executive board for Post – eCommerce – Parcel at the Deutsche Post DHL Group and responsible for Deutsche Post’s subsidiary StreetScooter.
The Deutsche Post DHL Group has also recently started relying on “DHL Cubicycles” for CO2-free last-mile delivery. This pilot project equips freight bicycles with electrical pedal assist; it was launched on March 1, 2017, in Frankfurt am Main and in Utrecht in the Netherlands. The transport boxes can hold a volume of one cubic meter and bear up to 125 kilograms. This means they can carry more express packages than conventional freight bicycles and deliver them faster than larger vehicles can.
Transport solution for the last mile: DHL Cubicycles bicycle couriers use inner-city “microdepots.” According to Deutsche Post, each of these “city hubs” renders up to two delivery vans superfluous.

Four midpoint targets for greener logistics

Aiming for completely emissions-free logistics, the Deutsche Post DHL Group has set itself four midpoint targets to achieve by 2025. First, the company’s CO2 efficiency should be improved by 50 percent over its efficiency in 2007. Second, 70 percent of the company’s internal delivery and pickup processes should be carried out using environmentally friendly concepts such as bicycle delivery or electromobility. As a third goal, the percentage of sales involving green solutions should exceed 50 percent. The fourth objective is to certify 80 percent of the company’s current workforce of 510,000 as “GoGreen” experts through specific training measures.
Text by Benjamin Klare
Photos: DPDHL, Stephan Münnich