Sustainability in the transport and logistics industry

Your expert for questions

Daniel Haag

Dr Daniel Haag
Director, PwC Strategy&
Tel.: +49 170 223 8886

How to become a sustainability driver

Sustainability is hardly uncharted territory for the transport and logistics industry. However, the industry is making only slow progress: CO2 emissions from road freight transport have risen by more than 20 percent since 1995, even though vehicles are more efficient today. And while volume continues to grow unabated, a massive reduction is actually needed to achieve the agreed climate targets.

At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic has illuminated the vulnerability of global value and logistics chains and mobility. The transport and logistics industry is proving essential in two respects: First, it provides climate-, environmentally- and socially-compatible transport solutions that are helping to flatten the climate curve. Secondly, the industry is establishing robust transport chains even as climate and environmental conditions are changing.

"Many companies are too defensive or reactive when it comes to sustainability. This makes sustainability a ticking time bomb for the transport and logistics industry."

Dr Daniel Haag,Director, PwC Strategy&

Major changes in the industry

The transport and logistics industry is undergoing a transformation. This also presents an opportunity to implement a wide range of sustainable solutions.

  • Customers are becoming more discerning: B2B customers expect real-time transparency, flexibility and reliability. At the same time, supply chains are changing and resilience is gaining in importance. Travellers expect to be able to customise their travel plans and travel seamlessly to their destinations; they also increasingly prefer sustainable transport solutions. 
  • Changing competitive environment: New players, such as digital transport platforms, are making inroads into the market. Customers like Amazon are becoming competitors. However, cooperative ventures are also on the rise and facilitating sustainable solutions, for example in the area of urban distribution.
  • Operational excellence and cost efficiency ensure that companies remain competitive and simultaneously help drive sustainability forward – in the form of better utilised vehicles, for example.
  • Digitalisation and self-driving vehicles are transforming the entire industry. Digital tools and platforms can help to conserve resources. Examples include fuel-efficient driving and avoiding empty hauls, to name but a few.

Your situation

Sustainability time bomb

Many transport and logistics companies have set sustainability objectives for themselves and offer sustainable products and solutions. But most of them fall far short of their potential. This is due to a variety of reasons.

Typical challenges:

  • Transparency: Reliable data on emissions or employee concerns along the value chain are not available or not being leveraged. 
  • Dovetailing: Companies are unable to integrate sustainability into their corporate strategy. Insufficient horizontal and vertical integration within the company.
  • Strategy: There is a lack of strategic focus on key issues and unique selling points.
  • Objectives: Companies' objectives are too modest because they are focusing only on what is feasible today. They have no long-term vision.
  • Implementation: The persons responsible, resources, costs and processes for implementing the objectives have not been defined.

Our services

Leading companies proactively driving push towards sustainability

Many companies are not realising their full potential and are falling by the wayside when it comes to sustainability. We advise our clients in the following areas, which are rife with opportunities:

Impact valuation
The foundation of any goal-oriented sustainability strategy is consistent and reliable reporting – including on the factors essential to performance. Learn more

Climate change
Transport accounts for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. The transport sector therefore plays an essential role in the climate crisis. At the same time, energy efficiency helps to bring down costs, especially as CO2 prices continue to rise. While some transport companies are aiming at carbon neutrality, trendsetters are already striving to be carbon positive. In addition, an understanding of climate risks forms the basis for resilient transport chains. 

Sustainable supply chains
A comprehensive approach to the value chain – including all suppliers, ecological and social transport aspects, the procurement of vehicles and the establishment of logistics infrastructure – is becoming the norm. Learn more

Our promise

Our sustainability team will advise you on your path to sustainable logistics

We're guided by three fundamental beliefs:

  • Implementing the strategy: An effective sustainability strategy must be closely tied to the corporate strategy, entrenched in the organisation and systematically implemented.
  • Industry know-how and sustainability expertise: Our transport and logistics experts work closely with sustainability experts and representatives from your company.
  • Holistic approach: We take a comprehensive approach to sustainability by drawing on internal as well as external experts and stakeholders from our global network.

Let's work together to transform your company into a champion of sustainability in transport and logistics!

Contact us

Dr Daniel Haag

Dr Daniel Haag

Director, PwC Strategy& (Germany) GmbH

Tel: +49 170 223 8886

Ingo Bauer

Ingo Bauer

Transport, Logistics and Tourism Industry Leader, PwC Germany

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