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World’s largest transport companies failing to phase out fossil fuels

Published October 25, 2022

World’s largest transport companies failing to phase out fossil fuels

Only 7% of the world’s largest transport companies have committed to phase out fossil fuels, a survey of the sector has found.

Transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuels of all sectors, with more than 90% of transport energy comes from crude oil-derived products. Furthermore, transport is responsible for 37% of global carbon emissions. Despite this, only 93% of companies have no plans to phase out fossil fuels.

The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) and CDP analysed 90 companies, including 25 airlines, nine rail companies, six road companies, 17 shipping companies, and 33 multimodal companies.

The research assessed companies including American Airlines, FedEx, Japan Airlines, Maersk, Royal Mail, Ryanair and Qatar Airways. The research used the Assessing low-Carbon Transition (ACT) methodology to benchmarks companies against science-based metrics.

The WBA’s Transport Benchmark report found that 85% of the companies have fleets which are incompatible with a low-carbon future. Meanwhile, the majority do not have plans to change this.

The report also showed that on average only 0.3% of total transport related revenues are invested in research and development (R&D) into low-carbon technologies and fuels, such as electric vehicles and sustainable aviation fuels.

Furthermore, 94% of companies do not provide meaningful data on research and development into low-carbon vehicles and fuels.

Only three out of the 90 showed significant support for low-carbon policy. Just six directly work with infrastructure operators to build low-carbon solutions.

And while 48% of the benchmarked companies have a strategy to help customers to reduce emissions, none had set measurable targets for customer engagement to encourage low-carbon alternatives.

Alfa Energy’s corporate affairs officer Jeremy Nicholson commented: “Clearly there is much that could be achieved by transport companies when it comes to decarbonisation. Commercial fleets for deliveries and buses are ideal for transforming the vehicle sector. Commercial fleets take regular routes, so charging is easy to arrange, When you operate at scale and build the necessary charging infrastructure, the unit cost goes down. If you’re making purchasing decisions for a whole fleet, it becomes cost effective to gear up for that. We saw the same pattern for fuel efficiency vehicles in the past: first, the commercial fleets took advantage of measures such as tax breaks for engines under a certain size and minimum fuel economy standards. Only then did general buyers start to adopt similar vehicles.”