What makes a sustainability leader? Meet low-carbon fleet champions DPD

With the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards approaching, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2020 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our transport/fleet management initiative of the year, DPD.

What makes a sustainability leader? Meet low-carbon fleet champions DPD

Pictured: The Energy Saving Trust's Luke Redfern (second right) and compere Julia Bradbury presenting the DPD team with the award

Delivery and logistics giant DPD took home this award for its Road to Zero project, which was launched to help the company deploy fully electric delivery vehicles in urban locations in the UK.

Road to Zero began in 2018, when DPD deployed 39 all-electric vehicles across two of its London Locations- Westminster and Shoreditch. By February 2020, the project had been scaled up to a further 16 depots nationwide, with an additional 55 electric vehicles (EVs.).

This project has delivered savings from 3.75 tonnes per month of CO2 to zero in Westminster and Shoreditch and, by February 2020, had delivered a further 47 tonnes overall across the whole project to date nationwide. The company has been actively engaging with the government and with automakers so it – and other businesses – can develop more sustainable mobility solutions at speed and scale

Recognising the scale of the challenge with a fleet of 8,000 vehicles, DPD realised its responsibility to transition to low-carbon vehicles and launched a Smart Urban Delivery Strategy (SUDS) in 2017 in a bid to become the UK’s most responsible city centre delivery company and to be an influential opinion former in the ongoing debate around emissions. The company’s first all-electric delivery depot in Westminster was part of a £1m project in preparation for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) – and sought to overcome the current challenge of DPD’s 11 depots which are mainly placed on the outskirts of London, aiming to reduce unnecessary pre-delivery mileage for parcels.

The 5,000ftsq.ft Westminster site acts as a ‘satellite for its 63,000sq.ft London City depot in Southwark which, until the new site opened, was sending fifteen 3.5 tonne diesel vehicles into central London every day. In previous diesel operations, there were 180 unproductive miles, which has now been reduced by 49% as a result of the localised, electric operation.

DPD replaced its previous fifteen 3.5 tonne diesel vehicles with two electric 7.5 tonne Mitsubishi Fuso eCanters, running daily trunk routes between Southwark and Westminster. After trialling 20 different alternative fuel vehicles, it invested in ten Nissan eNV-200 all-electric vans plus eight micro-vehicles from specialist Norwegian manufacturer Paxster, which travel seven to eight miles a day to the area immediately surrounding the Westminster depot, delivering up to 137 parcels per charge.

The firm overcame the problem of on-street charging by investing £50,000 in charging facilities for onsite charges every night. It sourced an intelligent charging system which manages electricity to charge vehicles without overloading the incoming supply. To further minimise its carbon footprint, it cleans vehicles using a waterless cleaning solution, saving on average 300 litres of water per wash

Learnings from the Westminster depot were applied to a further five London sites in the months that followed.  In 2019, DPD delivered 449,051 parcels using 94 EVs, whereas in the third quarter of 2018, it didn’t deliver any parcels by EV. The company has now committed to 10% of all vehicles being electric by the end of 2020, which will result in 25 million parcels being delivered by EV.

Our judges were also impressed that DPD has managed to convert its “trunking” pre-delivery legs – not just last-mile deliveries – to EVs.

DPD has secured high-level buy- in for Road to Zero and embedded the EV revolution in its business purpose. Chief executive Dwain McDonald is personally driving its zero-emissions strategy, developing in DPD’s white paper that the Road to Zero Strategy represented how “the environment and climate change are now more important than ever to our customer”.

What edie’s judges said: “This entry goes beyond ‘just EVs’. DPD has thought about wider activities across operations, including sustainable energy, and has developed unique vehicles suited to its needs. We are impressed, also, by DPD’s wider strategy and engagement work.”

Are you our next winner?

Now entering their 14th year for 2021, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are a unique opportunity to shout about the achievements you and your company have made during this challenging year. 

Entries have now closed for the award scheme. In a digital event on Wednesday 3 February 2021, entrants will get the chance to celebrate virtually with leaders from across the sustainability, CSR and energy space. Some exciting new categories have been added for 2021 to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business. 


edie Staff

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