Calculation of the carbon footprint from transport. Delivery of goods.

Today, most States are actively pursuing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. For example, in July 2021, the EU countries presented an environmental development plan – the European Green Deal, which includes the main guidelines of green policy, as well as new taxes and subsidies. The plan implies abandoning the use of cars that create CO2 emissions, which is extremely important for the delivery of goods, as well as reducing the use of “carbon credits” in order to really reduce emissions. For this reason, many organizations seek to reduce and further reduce to zero the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere.


Let’s consider the companies engaged in the delivery of goods and their process of greening the business. A significant part of greenhouse gas emissions in the business processes of such companies arises from:

  • burning of fuel during transportation of raw materials and delivery of goods by various modes of transport (trains, planes, ships);
  • functioning of warehouses in which goods are stored between shipments to the final consumer.


The reason for the interest of shipping companies in accounting for greenhouse gas emissions are the following factors:

  • the development of environmental legislation and the tightening of standards on CO2 emissions oblige accounting, optimization and compensation of greenhouse gas emissions, in order to comply with the requirements of laws and to avoid penalties for non-compliance with certain standards;
  • in the near future, the EU plans to introduce a carbon footprint tax for products imported from other countries;
  • progressive states are developing various tax incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to gently stimulate the decarbonization of industry and service sectors;
  • many users of delivery services (buyers) are interested in the carbon footprint of the goods they receive, because of which the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions becomes extremely important for the business image and attracting consumers interested in environmentally friendly goods and services.


To calculate own carbon footprint, companies are assisted by specially designed CO2 calculators that make calculations based on data on the activities of the organization, the types of transport used and the characteristics of goods. CO2 calculators can be general, universal and accessible to everyone, as well as personal, designed for the needs of a particular company, taking into account the specifics of its activities and plans to reduce emissions.


Using a publicly available carbon footprint calculator helps:

  • Calculate the company’s greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Make the company’s work more efficient, optimize the delivery process, reduce fixed costs and payback period of the tools and technologies used.


Using a personal calculator helps:

  • Calculate greenhouse gas emissions by Scope 1, 2 and 3 (Scope 1, 2, 3);
  • Generate reports on greenhouse gas emissions;
  • To calculate various development scenarios in terms of changes in greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Integrate with information systems (1C, SAP) and receive data automatically.

Calculation of the Carbon Footprint

The procedure for generating greenhouse gas emissions in the delivery process and the scheme of their accounting.

The delivery of the goods to the final consumer consists of the following stages:

  • Storage in the primary warehouse (Warehouse 1), where all goods from suppliers arrive;
  • Delivery by truck of a certain quantity of goods to a regional warehouse;
  • Storage in a regional warehouse (Warehouse 2);
  • Delivery by cargo van of necessary goods to a warehouse in the city limits;
  • Storage in a warehouse in the city (Warehouse 3);
  • Delivery of the ordered goods to the consumer by courier.


Schematically imagine the delivery path of the order:


According to international methods, emissions from the storage and transportation of goods are calculated through categories:

  • Scope 1 – direct greenhouse gas emissions. Direct emissions from the company’s own sources or assets.
  • Scope 2 – indirect energy emissions of greenhouse gases. Emissions that are generated due to the consumption of energy that is generated by external sources that feed the company’s assets.


In the chain we are considering, greenhouse gas emissions by category occur at every stage, except for courier delivery. In this case:

  • Scope 1 – the interleaving of goods by vehicles to intermediate storage warehouses and, accordingly, fuel consumption.
  • Scope 2 – storage of goods in warehouses, that is, greenhouse gas emissions from buildings’ consumption of electricity and heat received from a power plant. Here emissions can be calculated according to the intersectoral corporate standard GHG protocol.

The courier does not produce emissions in Scope 1 and 2 categories due to the fact that it is not interconnected with the company’s technological processes for storing goods in warehouses and delivering large batches of goods by transport, and also does not consume energy directly from the company’s networks and sources, carrying out the delivery process absolutely independently.

Verification of Greenhouse Gas Reporting

Let’s consider an example of the procedure for calculating greenhouse gas emissions of a company engaged in the delivery of goods.

To calculate greenhouse gas emissions from delivery, an individual calculator is being developed that takes into account the logistics structure of the company, characteristics and volumes of goods. Also, in addition, you can create a special application in which the user can receive information about the carbon footprint for each individual delivery.


The experts of the HPVS company are developing an individual interactive calculator that calculates greenhouse gas emissions from delivery, taking into account international methods for calculating greenhouse gas emissions and the following data:

  • The mass of the delivered cargo, on which the amount of fuel consumed and, consequently, the amount of emissions directly depends;
  • The amount of heat and energy consumed by warehouses. Large warehouses consume a lot of energy and heat, which leads to large greenhouse gas emissions, so it is necessary to optimize the use of storage facilities;
  • The capacity of warehouses, since the volumes of emissions generated during the operation of the warehouse are distributed by the number of goods stored in the warehouse;
  • The shelf life of goods in warehouses – the more goods are at the intermediate storage point, the greater the load on the energy and heating systems of the warehouse. Because of this, there is a need to ensure the maintenance of the full functioning of all storage areas, which increases energy and heat consumption and, accordingly, creates both additional financial costs and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. The goods must be delivered to the end user as quickly as possible;
  • The distance covered by vehicles during the delivery process, which must be reduced in order to reduce CO2 emissions from fuel consumption
  • Load capacity and fuel consumption by cars.

International GHG calculating methodology standards

Example of calculations.

For example, the average weight of the ordered goods required for 3 days of a family of 4 people is approximately 11.2 kg. It includes food (meat and dairy products, fruits and vegetables) and household (household) goods. The family carries out the order in the online store and receives it by courier delivery from the nearest warehouse of goods.

We will calculate greenhouse gas emissions from the entire chain of delivery of goods ordered by the family, starting from the warehouse where they arrived from suppliers to their delivery to the consumers’ apartment. At each stage of delivery, we will take averaged indicators formed on the basis of data from existing companies on the market.


We form all the data for the calculation into a summary table:


Based on these data, through a calculation model specially developed by our experts, which, by combining actions with specified parameters, produces real emissions from the entire product delivery chain, we can:


  • to obtain quantitative indicators of greenhouse gas emissions at each stage of the product delivery chain to the final consumer;


  • calculate the total emissions from the full cycle of delivery of a certain product.


*Also, below are additional examples of recalculation of emissions of various greenhouse gases into tons of CO2 equivalent to understand the process of the interactive calculator:


Development of the Concept of Optimization and Compensation of the Carbon Footprint

Based on these calculations, we get a holistic analysis of the company’s activities, projecting:


  • monthly greenhouse gas emissions in general;



  • monthly emissions for certain types of services provided by the company;



  • the share of each link in the delivery chain in the company’s total emissions;



  • emissions by Scope 1 and 2.




As a result of the considered example, an extremely important and unexpected conclusion was obtained: emissions from the operation of buildings and the storage of goods (Scope 2) are many times higher than emissions from the movement of cars with goods (Scope 1). Although the initial hypothesis assumed a completely opposite result of calculations, since by type of activity the transport company is mainly engaged in delivery, not storage.


Recommendations of HPBS experts on reducing emissions by Scope 1 and 2, for companies engaged in the delivery and storage of goods:


Scope 1:

  • Gradually replace trucks with diesel internal combustion engines with electric models;
  • Purchase biodiesel instead of conventional diesel;
  • For electric vehicles, purchase only renewable energy.


Scope 2:

  • Increase turnover to reduce shelf life;
  • Purchase only renewable electricity and install equipment for its generation;
  • Compensate for thermal energy (offsetting) or install a biofuel heating boiler.


Thus, we can see that in order to minimize the carbon footprint from delivery, companies need to switch to modern environmentally friendly means of transportation and energy generation, as well as accelerate trade turnover to reduce the load on warehouses, which, according to the results of the study, turned out to be the most significant generators of greenhouse gas emissions in the delivery procedure. The potential results and payback periods of applying the proposed solutions can be calculated using a special interactive calculator.


Other examples of calculators.

The following calculators can be used to calculate and optimize the route, as well as to evaluate transportation by various modes of transport:



There it is necessary to indicate the location of the sender and recipient, the volume and weight of the cargo, the type of vehicle. Considering these factors, the calculator will calculate the most suitable route with the least greenhouse gas emissions. It is also possible to get a breakdown of emissions by source categories (Scope 1 and 2) and get acquainted with the proposals of experts on offsetting emissions from delivery in your company.