On 27 March 2019, logistics provider GEODIS provided a free 40 minute webinar for HLA on the subject of reducing carbon emissions in humanitarian logistics. The webinar included three speakers, and a presentation of the EcoTransit measuring tool. A full video of the webinar is available at: https://youtu.be/uLpxb57_828

The speakers were:

Edith Mazoyer, GEODIS: edith.mazoyer@geodis.com

Cecile Bray, GEODIS

Ralph Anthes, EcoTransit: ralph.anthes@ivembh.de

During the webinar, the speakers covered the following:

  • General WW transport context (increase of flows)
  • Environmental impact of each type of transport (rail, road, sea and air)
  • Focus on the energy mix (how is the energy produced and the impact. For instance, electricity does not have the same impact if produced by coal as by sun or wind)
  • Energy innovations for transport
  • A case study: transport from Europe to Middle East by air & sea, or by air or by road
  • A live demo of the EcoTransitmeasuring tool: https://www.ecotransit.org


This slide summarises the presentation.

Questions and observations

The speakers answered a range of questions, including:

Q: Will EcoTransit be available soon to NGOs?

A: This is being discussed soon by EcoTransit and Ralph Anthes hopes that NGO’s will be able to use the full system for a reduced fee.

Q: It is surely better to buy supplies locally than have to use long distance freight?

A: George Fenton said that buying locally was always a better option and he was aware that much effort had been made in recent years to support local production, especially of pharmaceuticals. He cautioned that steps would need to be taken that the supplies were quality assured and stressed the importance of planning and preparedness, for example, to assess and quality review local suppliers before an emergency situation arises.

Q: Surely off-setting carbon can lead to increased transport costs?

A: Yes, in some cases it can and the answer is to preposition stocks where possible, plus collaborate ahead of time and at the time of a disaster with logistics service providers to obtain a balance.

Q: In disaster situations, surely airfreight is the only answer?

A: Yes, often it is but preparedness can help reduce the need. NGOs should work with air carriers and collaborate better with other NGOs and agencies, to optimize loading and avoid empty space. They should also try to use freight rather than passenger aviation and direct flights.

Nikola Usenovic, Head of Global Procurementat International Medical Corps commented:

”We will be using this learning to pass on to our colleagues and, hopefully, to include in future policies, projects and procurements. We are considering mandating our major suppliers under BPA/LTA, where we move large quantities of goods, to provide the Co2 report using the EcoTransit or similar tools. We will also consider using this to measure and then reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chain by using sea/truck vs air when feasible. We will also be incorporating consideration of carbon footprint impact when developing sourcing strategies.

For example, last year we switched transport mode to trucks to a Middle East program location, and by sea to a North African program location vs air. Increased donor advocacy and support on this issue will be very useful to speed up implementation of such ecological best practices in the humanitarian sector.”