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Brussels Workshop - 15th February 2012


Brussels workshop

15th February, 2012


The second COFRET workshop was held in Brussels on 15th February 2012, where members of the COFRET consortium were able to meet and hold discussions with different stakeholders on existing methodologies for the calculation of CO2 emissions.

Among those present were representatives of research institutes, consultancies and public organisations who are often responsible for the development and implementation of methodologies for carbon footprinting of freight transport.

The workshop started with an introductory presentation by Diederik de Ree (TNO). He addressed the aim of COFRET, the COFRET methodology approach, the users’ needs that had been derived so far as part of COFRET and the aim of the current workshop.

The main part of the workshop was arranged in two parallel sessions, by dividing the participants into two groups. In the first group, chaired by Jan Kiel (NEA), the discussion followed a semi-structured template with questions concerning the different elements of a calculation methodology. In the second group, chaired by Diederik de Ree (TNO), the discussion focussed upon the concepts to be addressed within the transport supply chain.

 The discussions were constructive and provided some useful input to help focus the development of the COFRET methodology. Below we present the highlights of the discussions.

  • The link between the different supply chain elements (SCEs) and the organisational boundaries were discussed. Currently, the SCEs are considered independently. It is possible to calculate the emissions for each SCE and then combine the emissions at the level of shipment, product or loading unit. If different contractors are involved in the supply chain this might be problematic, as there will be no insights in the operational processes. This can be solved by asking the contractors to perform emission calculations based on their own operational data and to report the resulting emissions to a party who calculates the emissions. Otherwise, assumptions will inevitably be needed.
  • The methodology needs to include empty trips and detours. Concerning the allocation of emissions, there are several alternatives such as finance based, tonne kilometre based, etc. It was agreed that the best approach will be to keep the tool pragmatic, transparent and practical. Users do not want complex input data handling.
  • The methodology should provide the possibility to link with other tools in a company. Each of the tool developers present that have incorporated interfacing with e.g. supply chainmanagement (SCM) systems, do so using an Application Programming Interface (API). This allows the customers to adapt their systems accordingly. Emission calculation then becomes more or less part of the SCM system.
  • Discussion is still going on about whether there is a need for one standard methodology. If all parties use one standard methodology this would simplify and clarify things and would give maximum comparability. However, one could also argue that getting people to calculate and getting them to think about emissions is the most important issue. Different parties could use different methodologies. In that case, transparency is the most important characteristic.
  • Ex-post calculation based on real energy consumption gives the best approximation of the carbon footprint. However, some stakeholders also want to estimate emissions before actual transport. Preferably the eventual methodology should do both. Knowledge of ex-post calculations should then improve ex-ante estimations.
  • Quality and accuracy of the data to be used in the methodology should be good. However, often there is a lack of detailed, reliable and accurate data. Organisations are not always willing to share data due to confidentiality reasons. Therefore, it is important to have a minimum level of data with which emissions can be calculated.
  • The goal is to incorporate terminals, ports or nodes in the methodology. However, emission factors for terminals do not exist yet. Allocation of energy consumption to productive and non-productive transhipment is not easily  defined. One probably needs to make assumptions. On the other hand, the contribution of transhipment emissions in the chain seems to be small.
  • Accuracy and a pragmatic or practical methodology do not seem to match. When building the methodology we need to keep in mind that for detailed results the data and methodology need to be accurate. So, the level of detail determines the level of accuracy. Also, detailed types of vehicle classification are needed within the methodology - the more detailed, the more accurate the results.
  • The methodology should preferably be available at shipment level, but the methodology should also address other levels, e.g. product, parcel, pallet, customer or company level.
  • The methodology should include geography, for example where there is a difference in emissions. These are determined by geographical aspects such as urbanisation or the gradient of roads or different fuel qualities or predominant vehicle types. The geography is especially important if one would like to make ex-ante calculations. For ex post calculations, the route and fuel consumption is sufficient.
  • The methodology should include CEN standard EN16258 when it is published. Without these standards, the methodology is not useful. The standards provide a framework or scope within which the methodology can be refined.
  • Monetisation is a next step in the methodology. For the moment it is recommended to calculate CO2 equivalents. Monetisation is not yet needed. On the other hand it might become important if you want to compare effects and to grab people’s attention, as it provides a value for CO2 emissions.
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