The COFRET project is co-financed
by European Commission Directorate
General for Research & Innovation as
part of the 7th Framework Programme
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COFRET Newsletter July 2013

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Welcome to the third COFRET Newsletter



Welcome to the third newsletter of the COFRET project. We've just entered the third and final year of the project and there is quite a bit lot to catch up on.

Following an intensive dialogue with our Advisory Board and the European Commission at the end of 2012 we agreed a revised scope for the remainder of the COFRET project. The main shift was to move away from developing a tool to calculate the carbon footprint of freight transport. Instead we are now focusing on harmonisation of existing initiatives and how this relates to future improvements in their coverage, accuracy and alignment.

COFRET's main objective is to provide industry, shippers and logistics providers, with the opportunity to remove the current uncertainty over calculating the carbon footprint of freight transport. To achieve this we will:

  • Review existing methodologies for the calculation of carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of freight transport and logistics in the context of supply chains and evaluation of their compatibility with the European standard EN 16258 for calculation of the carbon footprint of transport
  • Identify gaps and ambiguities in the calculation guidelines within the EN 16258 standard relating to coverage of freight transport and logistics, supported by the means of real-life case studies
  • Prioritise suggestions for possible approaches to achieve comparability for the calculation of emissions along supply chains, with a special focus on the identified gaps and ambiguities.

The COFRET approach will comply fully with the European standard EN 16258, published in 2012. The added value of COFRET is that it provides transparency on existing carbon footprint calculation methodologies and that it provides suggestions for next steps needed in order to achieve global harmonisation of calculation principles and comparable reporting as part of a process to support global alignment of standardisation.

We're now heavily involved in delivering these activities, as you'll see from what follows. Please also remember that the COFRET website contains a wide selection of information related to the carbon footprinting of freight transport in general, as well as the deliverables from the review and user needs stage of COFRET. If you have something that you would like us to add to the news, library or links pages of the website then please do let us know.

As well as the work carried out as part of COFRET there has been a lot of related activity, including:

  1. EN 16258, the European standard on the calculation of the carbon footprint of freight transport was published by CEN in December. COFRET has been granted partner status by CEN for the remainder of the project. Guidance on the application of EN 16258 has recently been released by CLECAT and can be found here.
  2. The French national requirement for CO2 reporting for transport services, both passenger and freight has been confirmed and will come into force on 1st October 2013. The decree and associated guidance developed by the French authorities are available to download from the COFRET website.
  3. The European Commission has launched a tender process to engage a contractor to investigate, among other things, the impact of introducing a standardised carbon footprint methodology covering all types of transport. The contract, which will come into force in a few months' time, will be based around a range of implementation scenarios to be determined by the European Commission and the successful contractor. 


 Review of gaps ambiguities and recommendations for methodology harmonisation



TNO is leading COFRET's work on identification of the gaps and ambiguities of the EN 16258 standard regarding coverage of transport and logistics in the context of supply chains. In the coming months these gaps and ambiguities will be ranked based on the priority that should be given to their elimination. We will conduct a comparison between existing standards and methodologies for the calculation of GHG emissions. Special attention will be given to the assessment of compatibility between the EN 16258 European standard, the ISO family (14064 and 14067), and the GHG Protocol. If applicable, the comparison will identify possible contradictions and inconsistencies among these standards and methodologies.

The WP will further present suggestions and recommendations towards closing the identified gaps and ambiguities of the EN 16258 standard, aiming at harmonization of calculation principles and comparable reporting. Suggestions will be based on an assessment of existing CO2 calculation tools and methodologies, stakeholders' needs, interfacing possibilities, other (European) research and the COFRET project's own findings. 

 COFRET Case Studies



The process of identifying and filling any gaps and ambiguities in CO2 emission calculations will be underpinned by the COFRET case studies.

A range of case studies will be carried out between July-October 2013. These case studies will, on one hand, provide evidence on gaps and ambiguities in the EN 16258 as found earlier in the COFRET project. On the other hand the cases will also investigate to what extent EN 16258 can be used in an effective and efficient manner by shippers and transport service providers.

The COFRET case studies will be conducted together with different industry partners. These partners comprise

  • Coop,
  • Camion Transport AG,
  • CMA-CGM,
  • UPM,
  • DP DHL,
  • Dachser,
  • BASN/Toten Transport,
  • H&S Group, and
  • Van Oers Vegetables.

The cases cover different transport modes and business / goods types in the freight transport sector, such as logistics services, food and non-food distribution, container shipping, liquid bulk and dry bulk. This is designed to ensure that we will be able to provide as much feedback as possible, to increase the quality of the calculations. Recommendations on improvements in the calculations will be provided to the Commission. 

 Workshop report "Carbon Footprint Monitoring in the Supply Chain"



The e-SAVE and COFRET projects organised a joint workshop entitled "Carbon Footprint Monitoring in the Supply Chain" on May 15 2013, in Brussels, adjacent to the 17th Annual ECR Europe Conference.

The workshop explored the current status of carbon footprint monitoring and highlighted the challenges and opportunities that are faced by companies. The results of a European industry survey regarding carbon footprint monitoring were presented, followed by a panel discussion with top industry executives including

  • Mr. Luca Ruini, Barilla, Health, Safety, Environment & Energy Director,
  • Dr. Klaus Hufschlag, Deutsche Post DHL, Vice President Carbon Accounting & Controlling,
  • Prof. Jens Froese, Jacobs University Bremen & Green Efforts Project,
  • Mr. Erwin van der Linden, Expertise and Innovation Centre Inland Shipping,

brought forward their perspective of carbon footprint calculation methods, current practices and issues related to data availability.

More specifically, the panel members highlighted the importance of developing one common approach for measuring and allocating the carbon footprint. According to Dr. Hufschlag, one of the biggest challenges is to integrate existing (local) standards and create consistent and comparable carbon footprint outcomes. This would allow firms to benchmark themselves in comparison to other companies and facilitate the development of collaborative solutions for monitoring carbon footprint monitoring across the supply chain. Companies have already started sharing carbon footprint monitoring information, and there is a clear trend towards this direction; for example, many transport companies have already started printing on the invoices and dispatch advices the respective carbon emissions.

According to Mr. Ruini, despite the current challenges in measurement, carbon footprint monitoring and reporting can bring a company competitive advantage. The competitive advantage doe not just rely on exploiting this information in marketing communications but, rather, on using this information to support product design as well as strategic and day-to-day supply chain decisions. This topic, further, opens up a new agenda for collaboration with supply chain partners based on a win-win relationship.

The COFRET and e-SAVE projects have agreed to carry on working together based on synergies in the topics covered. E-SAVE complements COFRET by supporting:

  • the development of a number of services that exploit carbon footprint monitoring information to support decisions (e.g. what-if analysis related to the structure of the supply chain network;
  • decisions related to distribution packaging and replenishment frequency etc.), and
  • pilot operation of collaborative supply chain practices aiming to reduce both cost and carbon emissions (e.g. collaborative distribution). 

For more information on the development of the COFRET methodology please contact Hedi Maurer (NEA).

 COFRET Dissemination Activities



COFRET has been in evidence at several major events over the past few months including:

  • European Transport Conference in Glasgow, October 2012
  • BAQ, Hong Kong December 2012
  • TRB, Washington January 2013
  • eSave/COFRET workshop Brussels May 2013

All presentations are available via the COFRET website.

We will continue to present our latest results at similar conferences, including

We are also in the early stages of planning for our final conference which we hope to be able to stage alongside the TRA (Transport Research Arena) in Paris during the week of 14th April 2014. 

 COFRET Next Steps - TTR / DLR



In addition to the work on methodological ambiguities and our case studies the key element will be a detailed discussion about how the work of COFRET can be continued after the formal end of the current contract as funded by the European Commission.

We have produced a discussion document that outlines a variety of possible arrangements for how future work could be organised and the types of issue that need to be considered. We sent the discussion document with an associated consultation survey to a selection of key stakeholders and have just finished analysing the results. The discussion document and the results of the consultation survey are now available to view here.

The consultation findings will provide the basis of a 1 day workshop to be held in late October 2013 to discuss the details and most promising options with this group of key stakeholders. Anyone who has not yet been involved in the consultation but who would like to receive an invitation to the workshop should contact Alan Lewis at TTR.

In the meantime we will also ensure ongoing engagement with industry initiatives, shippers, transport providers and international standardisation bodies at the global level as well as continuing our joint-working with projects such as e-SAVE and Green Efforts. 

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For more information see or contact Alan Lewis or Verena Ehrler

Newsletter contributors:  Alan Lewis, Hedi Maurer, Jan Kiel, Igor Davydenko, Daniel Diekmann & Verena Ehrler

Contact COFRET


The COFRET project is co-financed by European Commission Directorate General for Research & Innovation as part of the 7th Framework Programme 



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