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Logistics Emission Accounting and Reduction Network

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LEARN (Logistics Emission Accounting and Reduction Network)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-03-31

Freight transportation and logistics delivers goods to millions of customers around the world, and demand for freight transportation is expected to triple by 2050 according to the International Transport Forum. The sector accounts for 8% of global and 46% of transport greenhouse gas emissions today and growing. Freight transportation is also a major contributor to air pollution, noise and congestion. We cannot meet our climate and sustainability goals without efforts in this sector.

Logistics emissions can be tackled by reducing the carbon content of energy, fleet energy efficiency, improved asset utilization, optimal use of transport modes, and managing freight demand. Only through the collaboration of businesses, governments, research and civil society can a sector transformation towards zero emissions be realized.

Efforts to address these issues are already underway.
• Transport companies have for a long time focused on their own activities because efficiency gains reduce relative emission factors and it makes good business sense. A key question is if efficiency gains are too small to offset general growth in freight activity. Buyers of freight services, especially multinationals with a global consumer market, increasingly review their supply chains. Businesses that calculate their emissions have the opportunity to make informed decisions that lead to improved efficiency, reduced emissions and lower operational costs.
• Over the past decades collaborative green freight programs backed by industry were established (e.g. SmartWay, Lean & Green, Clean Cargo Working Group and Green Freight Asia). These programs meet differing needs – operational data sharing to support benchmarking and reporting, efficiency improvement, emissions reduction in urban areas etc.
• Public authorities are also taking a greater interest because of rising economic costs of air pollution and transport emissions related impacts rising economic costs of air pollution and transport emissions related impacts. Their aim is to reach government targets to reduce transport CO2 emissions and improve air quality. For this reason, they are investigating a wide range of mechanisms, from incentives to access restrictions, and from vehicle-level certification of emissions to legislation requiring reporting.

There is much activity ongoing in this area; however, much of it takes place in isolation. This creates problems – for example, confusion over the role of different programs, disagreement over the most effective mechanisms that can be used to calculate and report emissions, where support is most needed to encourage certain behaviours, or ignorance of practical measures under development.

The EC policy study “Fact-finding study in support of the development of an EU strategy for freight transport logistics” identified the combination of a lack of a harmonised approach to carbon accounting in the logistics sector and limited understanding of the contributing issues to be the most significant barrier to unlocking future actions to reduce the contribution of the logistics sector to climate change.

The Logistics Emissions Accounting and Reduction Network project (LEARN) brought different actors together to mobilise business to reduce their carbon footprint across their global logistics supply chains. Logistics emissions calculation, reporting and assurance was improved and accelerated by LEARN in four ways:
• Provide support to companies through guidance, training & education, and a template for standardized reporting
• Test and validate with companies the practical applicability of emissions MRV and a label in complex multi-modal logistics settings
• Promote and facilitate supportive policy and research
• Develop and involve a LEARN multi-stakeholder network to maximize business uptake of carbon accounting and reduction.

LEARN partners worked closely with related organizations, initiatives and already existing networks. This includes the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC), a voluntary partnership of companies, industry associations and programs. The LEARN project built on and sought to improve the ‘GLEC Framework for Logistics Accounting and Reporting’ that combines existing methods and fills gaps, making carbon accounting work for industry. The aim is for emissions to be calculated consistently at the global level across all transport modes and transhipment centres
Provide support to companies to measure, report and verify emissions and use data to make decisions:
• Guidelines for methodology application and verification combined with reporting templates
• Training courses in three languages for carriers, logistics service providers and cargo owners
• Blueprint of a label to reward companies based on consistent emissions accounting and reduction efforts, building on existing labels


Test, validate and evaluate emissions MRV with companies in complex multi-modal logistics settings.
• Practical applicability of emissions calculation and verification
• Feasibility of data exchange between logistics supply chain partners for calculation of shipment-level emissions
• Calculation requirements for a label based on greenhouse gas emissions


Promote and facilitate supportive policies and research
• Overview of gaps in methodology, data quality and exchange challenges, and requirements for a label
• Recommended research agenda for gaps, challenges and future label development
• Recommended priorities for government and industry on incorporating carbon footprinting into policy making


Develop and involve a LEARN multi-stakeholder network to maximize business uptake of carbon accounting and reduction
• Active stakeholder involvement in LEARN building on existing initiatives and networks
• International Workshops with companies and other stakeholders for input and dissemination
• Marketing and communication on activities, outputs and network during and beyond the LEARN project
The LEARN project has been impactful in four ways. It has contributed to improved logistics calculation and reporting by companies, enabled governments and research to support businesses, and expanded a growing global network of industry and others stakeholders. The wider impact of the project is that more companies will start to calculate emissions using the GLEC Framework for Logistics Emissions Accounting and Reporting and report emissions to customers and external stakeholders using the GLEC Declaration.

1. Improved logistics emissions calculation by companies
2. Increased logistics emissions reporting by companies
3. Enabled governments and research to support business
4. Expanded industry and stakeholder network