Recently, the concepts of carbon footprint and water footprint have been gaining popularity. Will they soon become important indicators also in road transport?
We all want transport to be fast, cheap and ecological. Unfortunately, in practice we most often have to choose two of these terms. When it’s fast and cheap, it’s not ecological. When it is ecological and fast, you have to pay more for it, and when it is ecological and cheap, transport takes a very long time.
The problem is that while we can easily compare the speed and price of transport by providing specific numbers, in the case of ecology, we usually rely on subjective indicators. An attempt to overcome this limitation is to introduce the concepts of carbon footprint and water footprint.
WHAT ARE CARBON FOOTPRINT AND WATER FOOTPRINT?
A carbon footprint is a calculation of the total greenhouse gas emissions during the entire life cycle of a product, person or company. In business practice, it is most often given per product. Importantly, to determine the carbon footprint, we take into account not only how many greenhouse gases we emitted directly in the process of producing and using a given item, but also how much was used to produce the prefabricated elements from which it was composed or to supply the necessary energy.
Why is this important? Because it allows us to dispel certain myths about what is ecological and what is not ecological. When we look at the statistics, it turns out that a person traveling in a diesel car with three passengers will have a 1/4 lower carbon footprint than a person traveling the same route in an electric car, but without companions. Or another example – an airplane. When we board an economy class on a long distance, our carbon footprint will be lower than the one we would generate by driving the same route alone in a hybrid car.
The water footprint works in a similar way, except that it focuses not on greenhouse gas emissions, but on direct and indirect water consumption.
WHY DO CARBON AND WATER FOOTPRINT MATTER?
Both indicators allow you to reduce the more or less ecological nature of activities to specific numbers and thus make more rational decisions. Returning to the triad from the beginning of the text: thanks to it we can calculate how much more ecological transport will be at the cost of increasing its price or reducing its speed. When fully informed, it’s easier to endure minor inconveniences to take care of our planet… especially when consumers also have full information about our footprint.
And this awaits us soon. In December 2022, the CSRD Directive was adopted by the European Parliament. It imposes on many companies the obligation to submit annual non-financial reports from 2025 (for 2024). Such a report must, of course, include the organization’s carbon footprint. But this is just the beginning. For 2025, all large enterprises in the EU will have to prepare such a report, and for 2026 – also small and medium-sized enterprises listed on the stock exchange and other financial institutions.
Water footprint is not mentioned in the legislation yet… but everything indicates that it is only a matter of time.
Are you looking for a logistics partner that will help you reduce your company’s carbon footprint? Write to us and see what we can offer you!