Belgian retailer Colruyt Group is going to deploy electric trucks and hydrogen-powered vehicles for its own transport to and from stores, as well as that to distribution centres via suppliers.
Key role for transport
In the past five years, Colruyt Group managed to reduce its carbon emissions by 25 %, and by 2030 the company wants to reduce emissions by another 42 %. Transport plays a key role: just over a quarter of the group’s total emissions come from the fuel consumption of its own fleet, accounting for 23,797 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Therefore, electric and green hydrogen vehicles will become the norm at Colruyt in the near future. The retailer believes that a combination of different alternative fuels is essential: the disadvantages of one technology will then be offset by the advantages of the other technology, such as, for example, charging time, deployability and infrastructure adaptations.
“We believe that electric driving can become the broad norm, it is becoming more and more established, also in a professional context. Hydrogen will also play an essential role in industry, in logistics processes and in transport activities”, CEO Jef Colruyt clarifies.
Colruyt Group calls itself a pioneer: the company already started research into electric trucks for silent deliveries in 2005, was the first in Europe to test heavy duty prototypes on hydrogen and tested silent delivery in an urban context with a 44-ton electric truck. Solucious, Colruyt Group’s foodservice wholesaler, recently invested in five electric refrigerated trucks to supply hospitals, catering outlets and businesses in Brussels.
“Time has run out”
But the ambitions do not end there: some 60,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent are caused by freight transport by subcontractors, and the lion’s share – at 600,000 tonnes – comes from freight transport earlier in the value chain. All links in the supply chain must therefore join the transition, and Colruyt Group will enter into talks with transporters and suppliers all along the chain.
“You cannot put the climate on hold, even though we have a lot of other things on our plate now as a big retailer. In October, it was still ten degrees too hot for the time of year and last summer was also clearly different. We are convinced that, as a company, we must continue to invest in initiatives with a positive effect on the climate to create a better living environment, because time has now effectively run out”, Colruyt said.