DHL drives eco-logistics with its first carbon neutral warehouse

DHL has announced the completion of its first carbon neutral warehouse globally. The 6,500 square foot site near Wakefield West Yorkshire is the location for the main distribution centre of UK communication company O2. 

The project was implemented by DHL through its in-house carbon consultancy, DHL Neutral Services, as part of the companys industry GoGreen Programme, which includes a commitment to reduce its carbon by 30 per cent by 2020, and improve the cost efficiency of its supply chains.

The transformation of this warehouse to carbon neutral status was achieved by installing a ground source heat pump for heating and cooling which transfers the heat from the ground into the building. In addition, changes were made to energy consumption by installing motion sensors to electric lighting systems, and the warehouse switched to a green energy tariff which provides energy from carbon-reduced sources.

The implementation followed DHL Neutral Services four-stage carbon reduction model of assessment, reduction, replacement and neutralization, which resulted in 98 percent of the sites carbon emissions being eliminated completely and only the remaining two percent requiring offsetting via Gold Standard Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). In total an annual 760 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions were reduced and neutralized, which equals the carbon footprint of over 150 return flights from London to Sydney.

Karl W. Feilder, CEO of DHL Neutral Services said: The combined forces of climate change and the worldwide financial crisis are forcing businesses to rethink every aspect of their supply chain, to address the urgent need in reducing carbon emissions and cutting costs. Every carbon reduction project that DHL has undertaken has identified initiatives to reduce costs.  Our goal is to help customers manage their carbon as they would manage any other aspect of their business with an eye for operational efficiency and cost reduction. As part of that, many questions have been asked about the viability of neutralising supply chains without relying too heavily on offsetting. DHLs work with O2 on this carbon neutral facility demonstrates that eco-efficient solutions in the supply chain can be realized.

For O2 the supply chain is an important element to help the company reduce its carbon footprint. Every company has an important role to play in tackling climate change.  At O2 were developing lots of different ways to reduce the energy we use, said Nick Lefever, General Manager Supply Chain. As a distributor and retailer, our supply chain is an important consideration for us in becoming a more sustainable business. Our partnership with DHL in neutralizing our main storage and distribution center has shown what is possible in terms of carbon reduction and we see this as the first of many such initiatives. We will continue to work together with DHL to identify further carbon reduction strategies for our extended supply chain.

DHL will conduct regular assessment of the site to evaluate emissions from its operations toward continual improvement. Paul Richardson, Divisional Managing Director of DHLs Department Stores & Fashion team that operates the site for O2 adds: We are constantly seeking ways of improving the impact the retail supply chain has on our environment from the use of the latest vehicle technologies to our most ambitious project of the first carbon neutral distribution center in the UK.

Customers look to us to lead the industry from both an innovation and investment point of view, and this has been clearly demonstrated by this achievement which has taken considerable investment from both DHL and O2, underpinned by a fully committed team on site. We hope it will become the platform for future retail distribution solutions.

In April 2008, DHLs parent company, Deutsche Post World Net, became the first logistics company to set quantifiable carbon targets through its global climate protection program GoGreen, and the site team continues to develop GoGreen initiatives including, a world environmental day promotion, an active car sharing scheme, recycling banks and the creation of a wildlife area in association with the RSPB.

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