As one of the world's biggest names in packaging and Europe's largest cardboard box maker, Smurfit Kappa, knows a thing or two about running mammoth transportation fleets and their resultant carbon emissions.
Aware of the need to lower its carbon footprint, in line with its stated corporate ambition of a 25% CO2 emissions cut target by 2020, the FTSE 100 company is turning to bio fuels and hybrid solutions for its fleet, with the logistics divisions of its plants in Scandinavia leading the way, according to Saverio Mayer, Chief Executive Officer of Smurfit Kappa (Europe).
Mayer says in October 2017, the company introduced "innovative new trucks" at its Pitea Paper Mill in Northern Sweden capable of carrying a heavier payload and running on a new bio fuel (HVO100), which allows for a reduction of fossil CO₂ emissions "by up to 90%."
"In general, many of our trucks are running on Euro 5 engines that have significantly reduced emissions already, and we use eco-friendly hybrid vehicles as much as possible from an operational standpoint. So the initiative at Pitea is the next natural step. Furthermore, higher payload also means fewer journeys totaling up to a 30% reduction on many routes."
Mayer says the blue chip company is working hard to reduce emissions across its operational sphere. "Pitea is our largest plant in terms of kraftliner cardboard production, and for the last ten years our team there has been working consistently on sustainable pathways. We also produce energy for the plant from biomass.
"Additionally, our second largest kraftliner mill in Nettingsdorf, Austria will undergo a €100 million ($122.9 million) upgrade to improve efficiencies and sustainability. The investment will result in the reduction of 40,000 tons of CO2 which would be 1.5% of the total carbon footprint of the company."
Fuel efficiencies extend well beyond trucking and plants with shipping in sharp focus for the global company. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has imposed new limits to reduce sulfur in marine fuels, due to be enforced within two years.
The rule stipulates that sulfur content in fuels must fall from 3.5% to 0.5% from 1 January 2020, but Mayer says both Smurfit Kappa and its shipping partners are well ahead of the deadline in terms of meeting the requirement.
Editor's Note: This report appeared in Forbes.