Clean kilometres

While the majority of our last-mile mail delivery is done mainly on foot or by bike, inter sorting-centre transport is carried out by large trucks, while for last-mile parcel delivery we use medium-sized delivery vans. And given that, on an average day, we transport mail, parcels and goods over 1.1 million kilometres across the Benelux, we are focusing on increasing the share of renewable fuels we use and expanding the electrification of our owned and leased fleet across our networks.

Expanding the use of renewable fuels

We have been using biogas extensively within our small trucks and vans for a number of years. In 2020, we also began testing a renewable diesel, called HVO100, on some of our delivery vans and 50 large trucks across the Netherlands. As a diesel made from renewable raw materials, HVO100 produces 90 percent less CO2 emissions during its life cycle compared to fossil diesel. We were one of the first large companies in the Netherlands to run on this fuel and switched to renewables for 8% of our total consumption in 2020. We plan to scale up the use of renewable diesel significantly in the years to come.

Since February 2020, we have also used a 20% blend of bio-LNG for our large trucks, helping to reduce the climate-change impact of our fuel consumption materially. In 2020, the share of the bio-LNG blend used in our large trucks amounted to 44%. The fuels we use are certified sustainable, meet high quality standards and are made of vegetable waste streams. We increased the number of trucks that use renewable fuels during 2020 and we will continue to expand this further in 2021.

We view renewable fuels as transitional. They will remain important in the coming five years, while we work towards scaling up the switch to electric or other zero-emission options. However, vehicle manufacturers are not producing commercial e-vehicles in either the numbers or range of sizes that industry requires, which is holding back our switch to a zero-emission fleet.

Wio delivers sustainably

Wio Oosten’s truck runs on HVO100, a sustainable fuel made from vegetable oils, waste and other fats. Wio and his colleagues in Zwolle tested the fuel and gave feedback on how they found it. “The truck drives very well on it,” he says. “And there are sufficient places around the country where I can fill the truck up.”

If we want to be the favourite deliverer, it is vital that we continue to be more sustainable. “HVO100 reduces CO2 emissions by 90% compared to normal diesel, which is a substantial difference,” Wio says. “We only have one earth, and reducing our CO2 emissions is one way to help protect it. The transition we are making with HVO100 is important; we are a large company with many vehicles. If we use clean fuels, that means clean kilometres, which helps us contribute to a better world.”

Using a variety of zero-emission vehicles

In 2020 we continued to grow our fleet of electric vehicles, rolling out the first 425 three-wheel electric scooters for our mail delivery network, which will support changes in our delivery model and extend the routes to make them more efficient. The e-scooters we currently operate save more than 140,000 litres of fuel per year, cutting our annual CO2 emissions by more than 300 tons. In total, we aim to introduce 600 of these scooters by 2021.

By year-end, we were operating more than 1,300 electric vehicles in our fleet across our operations, 538 e-bikes, 85 e-cargo bikes, 647 electric scooters and 72 electric delivery vans. Our investment programme is aimed at meeting the Science Based Targets we have set for 2030. We began a pilot with an e-bike solution from Fulpra, a Dutch start-up, that is capable of transporting up to two roll containers at once. As well as being emission free, the bike is ideally suited to urban environments as it can transport up to 3000 litres along cycle paths and can be parked on the pavement.

We also installed charging infrastructure at our Amersfoort depot, and made further plans together with several subcontractors on the use of electric vehicles in 2021. We want to make the fleets of our subcontractors as sustainable as our own. And in Amsterdam, the food network began using their first two electric vehicles.