It’s all ahead full for carbon neutral ocean freight shipping

With new options for booking sustainable marine fuel (SMF) in global shipping and eager partners looking to claim carbon footprint reductions, greener ocean logistics are building up a full head of steam.

Checking vital signs in container shipping

Having a duty to the planet, the Ocean Freight Experts at DHL Global Forwarding are leading the advance of sustainable shipping.

Behind every cargo container stacked high on the deck of an ocean freighter is a company keeping close tabs on its 'vital signs:' its weight, the value of its contents, and its carbon footprint.

All three are easy to measure, and a company has a large degree of control over the weight and value variables of their own products. However, influencing the final figure - the carbon footprint of a company's ocean freight shipments - is a more difficult prospect. Traditionally, companies have held little sway over the carbon emissions generated when their products are shipped overseas - ship owners and operators made decisions pertaining to fuel mixes, operational efficiency, and environmental protection efforts.

But the tides are starting to turn: new options for booking Sustainable Marine Fuels (SMF) and claiming verified carbon footprint reductions mean that the environmental impact of ocean freight is no longer controlled by a relatively small group of ocean freight providers and suppliers. In fact, just about any company shipping their products with ocean freight can now take an active role in reducing their carbon emissions - and that includes international fashion brands.

More ships and trains, less flights

Lindex is one of Europe's leading fashion companies, with approximately 460 stores in 19 markets. They're also an industry-leader when it comes to sustainable fashion: Lindex has committed to climate neutral operations by 2023 and to cutting C02 emissions in their entire value chain by half through 2030. 

Nearly 90 percent of all Lindex's goods are transported by boat, which means achieving a reduction in the company's carbon footprint at sea represents a huge step toward achieving their sustainability goals. That's why DHL's options for utilizing SMF are a perfect match as Lindex pursues a reduced carbon footprint in its shipping operations.

Lindex's fashionably small footprint


climate neutral in own operations by 2023


value chain CO2 emissions by 2030


of all goods transported by ship


DHL customer with decarbonized ocean freight trade lane

Decarbonizing all of Lindex's ocean freight shipments is a surprisingly easy undertaking, even if it seems complex at first glance:

In theory, Lindex could have products shipping in multiple cargo containers on multiple boats at any given time. Even if working out the exact amount of fuel needed to transport each kilogram of product over a given route involves routine calculation, it would be an impractical exercise to add precisely that amount of SMF to the tank of each ship.

Instead, companies like Lindex can use DHL's ‘book & claim’ mechanism. Lindex books a total volume of SMF that corresponds to the company's carbon footprint  across all their shipments. A corresponding amount of SMF is purchased by DHL and added into the overall ocean freight shipping system, which Lindex can claim with  an independently-verified carbon reduction certificate. 

Adding sustainability to DHL's mix

Lindex has become a pioneer in carbon-reduced logistics  by becoming the first company to take advantage of DHL's new Full-Container Load (FCL) GoGreen Plus service . Following upon the success of DHL's Less-Than-Container Load GoGreen Plus service, which was introduced at the beginning of 2021, DHL has become the first logistics industry leader to expand the service and include FCL shipments. These can be booked on platforms such as myDHLi Quote+Book.

What is ‘book & claim’?

A company ‘books’ a certain volume to cover its shipping needs...

DHL purchases the equivalent amount of sustainable fuel...

The sustainable fuel is added to the overall ocean freight fuel mix...

The company ‘claims’ a reduced carbon footprint.

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The one atmosphere approach

Our roadmap to sustainability focuses on meeting three key commitments: Clean operations for climate protection. Great company to work for all. Highly trusted company.

DHL's sustainable fuel solution centers around a concept called the one atmosphere approach. Recognizing that it is not relevant for the environment in which container vessel biofuels are used instead of fossil fuels, DHL prioritizes an increased share of sustainable fuel in the ocean shipping network and a clear accounting and verification process for its customers. For air cargo, DHL Global Forwarding is currently piloting a similar concept using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

We're proud to be working with companies like Lindex on implementing our 'book and claim' and increasing the use of sustainable marine fuel for FCL shipments. After all, whether its fashion or logistics, sustainability is always a good look.

Published: August 2021

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