Understanding your emissions

A deep-dive into our reasoning and methodology when it comes to calculating your last-mile emissions

Our why

The food industry is waking up to the reality of climate change and what Net Zero really means. Reducing emissions is no longer a question of whether to do it but how, with more and more operators setting ambitious targets.

The first step in the journey towards reducing harmful environmental impact involves good data - enabling us to measure what matters. That's why after setting a goal to contribute to carbon neutrality via our deliveries by summer of 2023, Collectiv Food undertook a study to measure our full scope of emissions for our deliveries with carbon accounting expert, Greenly.

We invite all our customers to explore and manage your transport emissions data via your Sustainability Dashboard on the Collectiv Food app.

The study

During the summer of 2022, Collectiv Food undertook a study with Greenly focussed on understanding the emissions attributable to our deliveries, both via our patented Points of Distribution (POD) model and our traditional delivery methods.

The standards used for the study were defined by the GHG Report Protocol for Corporates, which is the consensual protocol on greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting globally. This means we took into account the full scope of emissions for our last-mile delivery, which was defined as the journey from our central distribution hub to customer locations.

To calculate how much of each pollutant is emitted in the air by our last-mile delivery journeys, Greenly used emission factors based on our current understanding of UK vehicle emissions.

A month's worth of delivery data was reviewed to identify key factors for the calculations, such as the types of vehicles used and more dynamic factors, like the average weight shipped and distance travelled per journey via each delivery method.

To better understand how our last-mile deliveries compare to the market average, we went further by developing a typical last-mile delivery scenario of a competitor - in this case a catering butcher.

To do so, we defined the last-mile of a typical catering butcher in line with the last-mile of our POD and direct deliveries: from central distribution hub to London-based customer locations. We also made the following assumptions about a catering butcher servicing London-based restaurants:

  1. A refrigerated 3.5T diesel van is used for deliveries with capacity to transport up to 800 kg of product

  2. The van driver commutes to the central distribution hub by diesel car, travelling an average of 10 km, maintaining the same assumption as in our POD and direct last-mile calculations

  3. The driver loads a diesel van at an average of 70% capacity, meaning on average the van is filled with 560 kg of food

  4. An average of 68 km is travelled from the warehouse to the first delivery point. This was calculated by taking the average distance from the warehouses of three catering butchers known to be servicing London restaurants to the same inner-city delivery point

  5. An additional 20 km is travelled to complete the 6-8 deliveries within the city

  6. The driver returns to the warehouse travelling another 68 km, maintaining the the assumption that the distance travelled back to the warehouse is the same as the distance to the first delivery point as in our POD and direct delivery calculations

  7. The driver takes his diesel car parked at the warehouse and travels another 10 km to get home - again maintaining this same assumption in our POD last-mile calculations

Alongside the above assumptions, we accounted for the full scope of emissions of the last-mile for a typical catering butcher as we did for our last-mile deliveries. This means for example, we took into account indirect emissions produced due to fabrication and end-of-life of the vehicles used in each case.

Following the completion of the study, we saw the difference between emissions produced per kg of product shipped via our current last-mile delivery models as well as that of a typical catering butcher. We took these findings and built a calculator to continuously track and share emissions attributable to the transport of food in the last-mile.

The results

Greenly concluded that Collectiv Food's POD model can avoid up to 70% of emissions in the last-mile compared to our own direct deliveries.

We also found that a typical catering butcher produces 214.60 gCO2e/ kg of food shipped compared to 134.12 gCO2e/kg of food shipped via POD (POD emissions factor based on November 2022 delivery data). This means that POD deliveries are already 38% less emissive than the typical catering butcher today.

But this is only the beginning. Our plans to increase volume shipped via PODs (up to 90% capacity) and introduce more electric vans and cargo bikes to deliver from PODs to customers (up to a 50% cargo bike/50% electric van split) mean that in the future, POD deliveries can reduce emissions by up to 75% in the last-mile compared to the same journey of a typical catering butcher.

What the data means for you

Three "scopes" of emissions are used for GHG accounting and reporting purposes:

Scope 1: Direct GHG emissions

Emissions occur from sources that are owned or controlled by the company

Scope 2: Indirect Electricity GHG emissions

Emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the company. Purchased electricity is defined as electricity that is purchased or otherwise brought into the organisational boundary of the company

Scope 3: All other indirect GHG emissions

Scope 3 emissions are a consequence of the activities of the company, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company, such as how employees get to work, the emissions emitted via production of products bought by a company and the end-of-life of products sold. They account for 70-90% of an organisation's emissions and are the most difficult to measure.

As a Collectiv Food customer, last-mile delivery emissions reported by us make up part of your Scope 3 emissions. Additionally, carbon emissions savings reported are based on subtracting the emissions produced of shipping a given amount of food (kg) via a typical catering butcher (as defined above) and the emissions produced of shipping the same amount of food by PODs or our direct methods.

As we work to realise the full potential of our carbon-reducing POD model and support you in your Net Zero journey, you can explore your emissions data, the factors contributing to your delivery emissions and track emissions avoided over time. Simply log in to the Collectiv Food App to access your Sustainability Hub or contact your account manager for more information.

Limitations and future improvements

Every calculation has its limits. A given vehicle may have to take a detour because of traffic, so the emissions may be higher or lower than average. Variations like these are not currently included in the calculation. Likewise, the precise transport method from POD to customer, be it a cargo bike, electric van or diesel van is not taken into account due to current limitations of tracking this data in real time today. Instead, emissions attributable to this leg of POD deliveries are calculated on the basis of a monthly average of deliveries done by each type of vehicle.

To support continuous improvements aimed at an accurate estimation of your delivery emissions, we have implemented regular updates and careful monitoring of significant changes affecting the emissions produced in our last-mile delivery methods.

Today you can see the emissions associated with your deliveries, and you can expect upcoming improvements to focus on providing additional insights, such as the emissions you've saved by opting for our POD model versus your previous suppliers, and even to the emissions attributable to the delivered food products themselves.

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