The power of primary data in decarbonization

02/24/2023 | 5 min

The first Carbon Intelligence Mastermind Community Meetup looked at the status quo of carbon measurement, the power of primary data in freight decarbonisation and the challenges that need to be tackled in the future.

After the initial kick-off masterclass, Transporeon recently hosted the first Carbon Intelligence Mastermind Community Meetup. The goal of the community is to educate and help logistics and supply chain professionals meet the challenges of reaching Net Zero in freight transportation. Regular masterclasses and community meetups offer a platform for members to connect and discuss their concerns as well as solutions in order to reach those sustainability targets. If that sounds interesting to you, join the community to gain access to our series of masterclasses, meetups, events, resources and networking opportunities.

Jakob Muus, Director of the Sustainability Tribe at Transporeon, and Anna Reuttner, Sustainability Domain Expert, led a rich discussion on the status quo and current challenges of the transport sector regarding Net Zero targets. In this highly interactive session, community members got to know each other a and learnedabout their individual sustainability journeys a bit better. Our hosts additionally moderated a discussion on “The power of primary data in freight decarbonisation”. 

But why is this discussion so current and important? The transport sector is the only sector in the EU that has seen rising emissions since 2019 and estimations show that at the current rate the transport sector would double its emissions by 2050. 10% of global emissions come from transportation already. 

Data quality is the number one prerequisite to scale up decarbonisation. In order to make good and effective decisions regarding freight decarbonisation, you need to understand where your emissions come from and which processes are involved in them. 

Meet the community

If you are still unsure if you want to join our Carbon Intelligence Mastermind community, read on to learn more about the importance of collaboration on the journey towards Net Zero. Our community is made up of mostly shippers, but we are happy to have some LSPs and other organisations like research institutes on board. While over 50% work in logistics, 20% focus on supply chain and 12% specifically work with a sustainability focus. 

There are different reasons in the transport industry to start decarbonising. These mainly include pressure from customers, legislation, investors or employees. While the urge to act has been around in the industry for some time already, measuring emissions has been and often still is a big challenge. Nevertheless, more and more companies set up strategies.  

Astonishingly 83% of our community members already calculate CO2 emissions in their supply chain. 

In Jakob Muus’ words: “Three years ago, it would have been about 50:50 or even less. So we can definitely see a shift towards more importance of CO2 measurements.” But accurate measurements are still a big challenge. Only 15% use primary data already, and about 50% work with average values and excel spreadsheets or external tools. As Jakob Muus explained, while averages are great to get a feeling for emissions, they can still differ from reality by up to 400%. Primary data should therefore be the goal.

Data is key

Simply put: The first step for decarbonising supply chains should be accessing primary data to erase the error, the second one should be looking for a tool that automates this process. This is also the main idea behind the innovations and new capabilities of Transporeon Carbon Visibility, which we are announcing in March this year at Transporeon NEXT

Access to data is not everything. Once you have it, you need to make sure you efficiently process the data to use it when making decisions. Carbon Visibility takes away the work from you, so you can focus on your core business while resting assured that your decarbonization journey is taken care of. 

When it comes to measuring primary data, there is another big challenge. The European carrier market consists of many small companies with low saturation. Hence, assuring data quality is not the only factor to be considered. Combining data into the big picture is an additional challenge due to differences in measurements. If you want to understand more about supply chain emissions, you need to compare ‘apples to apples’. That’s why carbon accounting standards are essential. 

What’s the CO2e calculation standard of the future?

Jakob Muus put it smoothly: The future of decarbonising freight will be handled through tight regulations. While nowadays, the transport sector still struggles with the whole "basket of fruit,” we can expect a universal standard like the GLEC framework to take over and ease comparing emissions. 

Here, we are not only talking about comparing emissions within one company, which is of course important to make decarbonisation decisions in the first place but beyond that, comparing companies is becoming a norm. As one member of the community pointed out: “Currently, models are not good enough, but the commercial impact is high. I have the fear that those who choose models in favor of them possibly benefit commercially.” Greenwashing is a big problem, not only in the transport sector, but changes in regulations will make it increasingly hard to fake sustainability. 

What’s up next in our community?

Our first meetup was just part of an engaging series of events, allowing future sustainability leaders to learn and connect with one another and our experts from Transporeon and external specialists.  

The Carbon Intelligence Mastermind is a community dedicated to our members’ learning and to support their decarbonisation journey. Coming next will be our live events and discussions that will cover all topics of interest highlighted by our members, like scope 3 emissions, shipper/carrier collaboration for decarbonisation, methodologies, frameworks, regulations, and much more.

Join the community to take part in the upcoming masterclasses, meetups and our Logistics Sustainability Month

Carbon Intelligence Mastermind

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