Skip to main content

Sustainable Manufacturing: the Role of Sustainable Freight

Presentation made at Sustainable Manufacturing Summit, Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition

03rd May 2023

Written by

Alistair Lindsay

Chief Operating Officer

Share article

Keywords: manufacturing, sustainable freight, logtech


It was my pleasure to be invited to moderate the Sustainable Manufacturing Summit and also talk about technology’s importance in the race to net zero - which underpins Zeus’s sustainable freight solutions.

This event highlights the growing importance of everyone working together to make manufacturing sustainable - both for our economic growth and for the planet - as quickly as possible. There was a great range of speakers, and the overall message was clear: industry is moving, change is happening, but we do need to coordinate better. Time is of the essence.

Technology: the Critical Cog in the Race to Net Zero

You can read my article below or just download the PDF presentation - which provides a quick 2 minute summary of the topic and outcome.

Why is sustainability so important?

Globally, road freight using diesel fuel is still the standard transport method for ‘middle mile’ freight. HGVs account for 147 grams CO2e per tonne-kilometre: in European & UK terms, they emit 20 times more carbon than shipping does. Only airfreight is a higher emitter.

But solving this problem is not about trucks - it is also the needed push to transform to the entire supply chain.

Why should we be worried about this now?

The fact is:

  • EU climate goals are targeting 55% emissions reduction by 2030. That’s less than 7 years away!

  • All diesel powered trucks & vans will be off our roads by 2035 in the UK & Europe.

  • Many consumer brands have promised pledges: e.g. Henkel - climate positive by 2030.

  • There WILL be new legislation coming on mandated reporting - for all companies - soon and perhaps sooner than you think!

Scope 3, in particular, is often the biggest emitter for large retailers or manufacturers. Kraft Heinz, for instance, noted that their biggest Scope for them was Scope 3.

What is the solution for sustainable transport?

Changing one part of the supply ecosystem does not work. A principle of complete system innovation, which is what Zeus adopts.

With reference to slide 5 of the presentation:

How do we get to 22% savings?

  1. Zeus Dedicated Fleet self-reported savings in emissions, based on diesel mileage from 2021

  2. Includes reductions we have tracked from minimising empty legs, freight matching, return loads and more optimised HGV routing and availability timings

The transport optimisation savings of up to 84% - based on multiple pilots of our fully-managed low carbon multimodal solution, that we have now run with major manufacturers and retailers across Europe.


  • Expanded modal routing options (raIl freight, ferries)

  • New fuels (HVO100)

  • Fully plotted routes, optimised through our freight management system

We can push reductions even further at an HGV level with the use of fuel efficient tyres, engine maintenance, aerodynamic refinements and driver training and on-board monitoring tools. This can provide up to an additional 18-24% reduction in emissions - but is heavily influenced by urban density, terrain and road types.

It’s time to focus on emissions reductions, not just reporting

The focus on accurate, trustworthy, and auditable freight emissions reporting is essential. However, at Zeus we feel it does not supplant the fact that we should also be implementing real reductions today which are proven AND readily available. Zeus has proven it can provide measurable, GLEC-based, reductions in carbon for middle mile freight. Yet, it is still the case that when we enter tenders, there is often no box or KPI around ‘Price per CO2 tKm’ only ‘Price per KM’.

Maybe it’s time to change that: action and coordination is needed today.

Find out more about our Sustainable Freight solutions

Request more information