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SDG Library - Sustainable urban logistics Module


Logistics is an important industry for the world economy but unfortunately its degree of sustainability is quite low. It is estimated that 8% of global CO2 emissions come from logistics operations. In Europe, freight constitutes 6% of total CO2 emissions and 30% of transport CO2 emissions. To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the total emissions from freight need to be almost fully decarbonized by 2050 compared to 2015 levels.

At the same time the demand for freight transport is predicted to triple and associated CO2 emissions to more than double over the same period. This means that a transformational shift in the logistics industry is needed to meet our global climate targets. Sustainable supply chain strategies are a priority for many companies and green logistics is a term that has gained popularity in the recent years. As these issues attract more and more public attention, solutions in the field of sustainable and green logistics are expected to be in massive demand over the next several years. The Green Trends Survey, conducted by DHL, examined the expectations of two important stakeholder groups – business customers and end consumers – and revealed a great deal of readiness to make choices in favor of sustainability. The survey found that "..environmental concern today is shared by people in Europe, Asia and the Americas alike. An astonishing 70% of respondents from China and India see climate change as occupying a top position among the major world problems (followed by “poverty, lack of food and drinking water,” with 52%). This reveals that, rather than environmental concern being the “privilege” of 2 mature Western economies, there is a widespread awareness that sustainability is essential for every country, irrespective of its current position on the development path".

City logistics is an emerging field of research, brought on by the changing consumption patterns. The dramatic increase in deliveries that result from the continuing growth of e-commerce and online shopping leads to unsustainable traffic congestion, CO2 emissions, noise, and unhealthy air pollution levels within urban areas. Another aggravating factor is urbanization, which leads to increased demand for goods, services and construction works, bringing more and heavier vehicles on city streets. City logistics is becoming an urgent urban sustainability issue.

SDG’s can be impacted significantly by the actions of logistics and transportation companies. Logistics and transport are directly related to five SDG indicators (for SDGs 3, 9, 11 and 12):

3.6.1 Death rate due to traffic injuries

9.1.1 Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road

9.1.2 Passenger and freight volumes, by mode of transport

11.2.1. Proportion of population that has convenient access to public transport, by sex, age and persons with disabilities

12.c.1 Amount of fossil-fuel subsidies per unit of GDP (production and consumption) and as a proportion of total national expenditure on fossil fuel



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Group Discussion