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Net Zero Leaders in the Logistics Industry (Trucks)

The logistics industry plays a vital role in the global economy, ensuring the smooth flow of goods and services across the globe. However, with the growing awareness of climate change and the need for sustainable solutions, the sector faces mounting pressure to reduce its environmental impact. Trucking, a key component of the logistics industry, accounts for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing approximately 6% of total global CO2 emissions. In this blog, we will explore the net-zero leaders in the logistics industry, focusing on DHL and UPS, and their strategies for reducing emissions and fostering sustainability in their operations.

1. DHL: Green Logistics Pioneer 

DHL, a global leader in logistics and express parcel delivery, has set ambitious goals to become a net-zero emissions logistics provider by 2050. To achieve this target, DHL has implemented a comprehensive sustainability strategy called the GoGreen program. The main components of DHL’s GoGreen program are:

  • Carbon Efficiency: DHL aims to increase its carbon efficiency by 50% by 2025, compared to a 2007 baseline. The company plans to achieve this by optimizing its transport network, investing in fuel-efficient vehicles, and promoting eco-friendly driving practices.
  • Alternative Fuels: DHL is exploring and investing in alternative fuel technologies, such as electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells, and biofuels. The company has set a target to operate 70% of its first- and last-mile delivery services with clean pick-up and delivery solutions by 2025.
  • Sustainable Facilities: DHL is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its facilities and has implemented energy efficiency measures, such as LED lighting and solar power installations, across its global operations.

2. UPS: Delivering a Greener Future

UPS, a global logistics giant, is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The company has set ambitious interim targets to help it reach this goal and has implemented a range of sustainability initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. Key aspects of UPS’s sustainability strategy include:

  • Fleet Electrification: UPS is investing heavily in electric vehicles (EVs) and plans to have 25% of its annual vehicle purchases be electric by 2030. The company has also partnered with several EV manufacturers to develop custom electric delivery trucks tailored to its needs.
  • Renewable Energy: UPS is increasing its use of renewable energy sources across its operations, with a goal to source 30% of its electricity needs from renewables by 2030.
  • Operational Efficiency: UPS is continuously working to improve its operational efficiency through route optimization, advanced telematics, and driver training programs aimed at reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
  • Carbon Offsetting: UPS offers its customers the option to offset the emissions associated with their shipments through its carbon-neutral shipping program. The company invests in certified carbon reduction projects to offset these emissions.

Both DHL and UPS are leading the charge in sustainable logistics, implementing innovative strategies and ambitious targets to reduce their environmental impact. Let’s take a closer look at some specific initiatives and achievements by these logistics giants.

DHL’s Electric Vehicle Fleet

DHL has been actively investing in electric vehicles to reduce its emissions from parcel delivery operations. The company has deployed electric vehicles in various markets, including the United States, Europe, and Asia. In 2020, DHL announced plans to deploy 10,000 electric delivery vans, called the “StreetScooter,” across its operations in Germany and the Netherlands.

UPS’s Rolling Laboratory

UPS operates a “rolling laboratory” of over 10,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, testing and deploying various vehicle technologies in real-world conditions. This includes electric, hybrid-electric, hydraulic hybrid, natural gas, propane, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. By testing these vehicles in various geographies and under different operating conditions, UPS gains valuable insights into their performance, efficiency, and environmental benefits. This data informs the company’s ongoing investment in sustainable fleet solutions.

DHL’s SmartWay Partnership

DHL has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay program, which aims to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the freight industry. As a SmartWay partner, DHL is committed to measuring, benchmarking, and improving the environmental performance of its freight operations. The company has received multiple SmartWay Excellence Awards in recognition of its efforts to enhance supply chain sustainability.

UPS’s Eco-Responsible Packaging Program

UPS is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of its packaging operations. Through its Eco Responsible Packaging Program, the company evaluates its customers’ packaging processes and provides recommendations for improvement. UPS also offers sustainable packaging solutions, such as reusable envelopes and packaging made from recycled materials, helping to reduce waste and conserve resources.

The Road Ahead for Sustainable Logistics

While DHL and UPS have made significant progress in reducing their environmental impact, there is still much work to be done. The logistics industry as a whole must continue to innovate and collaborate to drive further improvements in sustainability. Here are some areas of potential growth and opportunity:

a. Collaboration with Stakeholders: Engaging with customers, suppliers, governments, and industry partners to share best practices, develop new technologies, and advocate for policies that support sustainable logistics.

b. Investment in Emerging Technologies: Exploring and investing in cutting-edge technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, drones, and advanced materials, that can help to reduce emissions and improve efficiency in logistics operations.

c. Expansion of Sustainable Solutions: Developing and promoting sustainable logistics solutions, such as intermodal transport, reverse logistics, and urban logistics, that can reduce emissions and congestion in cities.

d. Employee Engagement and Education: Fostering a culture of sustainability within logistics companies by engaging employees in sustainability initiatives, providing training on eco-friendly practices, and encouraging innovation in sustainable operations.


DHL and UPS are demonstrating that the logistics industry can play a significant role in the global transition to a low-carbon economy. By setting ambitious targets, investing in sustainable technologies, and collaborating with stakeholders, these net-zero leaders are driving meaningful change in the logistics sector.

As the world grapples with the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change, the logistics industry must continue to evolve and innovate. By learning from the best practices of DHL and UPS and scaling up their initiatives, the sector can make significant strides towards a more sustainable future, ensuring that the movement of goods and services remains efficient, responsible, and environmentally friendly for generations to come.


DHL’s GoGreen program:

DHL’s 2050 Net-Zero target:

DHL’s StreetScooter announcement:

UPS’s 2050 Net-Zero target:

UPS’s sustainability reporting:

UPS’s Rolling Laboratory:

UPS’s Eco Responsible Packaging Program:

Global CO2 emissions from the trucking industry:

EPA SmartWay program:

Photo by Quintin Gellar: