CO2-neutral – including transport

A significant proportion of CO2 emissions is generated by the transport of goods. We help to reduce the burden on the climate by using fuel from biogenic waste as well as rail transport, and continuously offset a portion of CO2 emissions through valuable compensation projects.

While our extensive network of stores requires local distribution by lorry, more than two-thirds of the goods transported between our national and regional distribution centres travel by rail.

Increasing use of rail instead of road

Based on the concept of unaccompanied combined transport (UCT), we have been transporting more and more goods by rail since 2011, taking them first by road in swap bodies to the nearest Railport, where they are then loaded onto a train. On reaching their destination Railport, the goods containers are then transported to stores by road. This approach is also possible for shorter routes of around 90 kilometres. With our Citycargo Geneva project, for example, goods are transported directly from the distribution centre in Aclens into the centre of Geneva. Besides the positive effect on the climate, this approach also helps to reduce the volume of motorway traffic. In addition to this, basic food products and wine from Italy have been transported in UCT from Chiasso to our distribution centres with Rail Care since 2014, enabling around 3,000 more swap bodies per year to be transported in an environmentally friendly combination of rail and road.

Biodiesel and biogas as fuel

We are making increasing use of fuel from biogenic waste with a view to also reducing the CO2 emissions caused by the transport of goods by lorry. The filling stations at our distribution centres have already been adapted, and drivers can fill their lorries with up to 30 per cent biodiesel produced from organic waste such as used cooking oil. We now also use nine lorries with the new Euro 6 emission standard, which can be filled with 100 per cent biodiesel. The biodiesel we use accounts for more than 10 per cent of the total biodiesel used in Switzerland – despite the fact that in absolute terms we are responsible for just 0.25 per cent of overall diesel consumption.

Transport by electric lorry

Switzerland’s first 18-tonne electric lorry makes energy-efficient, quiet and CO2-free deliveries to our stores in the greater Zurich area. The electric lorry runs on hydropower electricity from the grid and solar electricity from a photovoltaic installation on the vehicle’s roof. With one kilowatt-hour of electricity per kilometre, it needs around just one-third as much energy as a conventional diesel lorry. This pilot project enables us to test the practicability of the electric lorry for daily local distribution of goods.

New delivery vehicle with carbon

In 2015, we launched a new Coop@home delivery vehicle – the world’s first 3.5-tonne delivery vehicle with a carbon construction. Its unladen weight is around 400 kilograms lower, while its load capacity of 1.5 tonnes is more than one-third higher than existing Coop@home delivery vehicles. This means that more customers can be reached on each trip, fuel consumption is reduced and CO2 emissions per tonne kilometre are cut by around 30 per cent.

Reduction of air transport

In addition to goods transport within Switzerland, the transport of goods by air from overseas also has an impact on the climate. Our internal guidelines dictate that goods may only be transported by air if there are no other options available due to quality reasons or lack of time. Goods that are flown in are declared with a “By air” label. Faster logistics processes and modern refrigeration techniques make it possible to transport more and more goods from overseas by ship.

Comprehensive CO2 compensation concept

Since 2007, we have been compensating every air mile travelled by our goods as well as by our staff on business trips. In addition to this, we also offset the CO2 emissions caused by deliveries as part of our Coop@home online service, supporting CO2-reducing projects based on the Gold Standard in collaboration with WWF. In addition to protecting the climate, a further requirement is that these projects must also benefit the local population. The construction of biogas plants in Nepal, for example, enabled CO2 emissions to be reduced by 4.7 tonnes per year. In Madagascar, solar cookers were provided so that the local population no longer needs to buy coal or collect firewood. As a result, firewood consumption has already been cut by 720 tonnes a year, and a reduction of the amount of harmful smoke indoors is also beneficial to the health of occupants. The Coop Sustainability Fund finances carefully selected compensation projects with around CHF 2 million per year.

Principles and topics