Transportation and packaging add up to 15% of Knauf Insulation’s carbon, says Jean-Paul Defrance, company Supply CHAIN Director for EMEA & APAC.
Both are inextricably linked and contribute around 50% each of that 15%.
“We are now working on new solutions to increase our load per truck and decrease the kilometres (km) needed to deliver those loads,” says Jean-Paul.
This has meant optimising our network across Europe, linking Knauf Insulation plants with distribution centres and rail-links to cut delivery distances, while sourcing raw material suppliers that are closer to the sites that need them.
Such changes can make a difference. Simply reducing a distance from 1,000 km to 500 km can cut the embodied carbon of a product by up to 3%.
“By opening our new plant in Malaysia, we have cut tens of thousands of carbon kilometres off our deliveries to customers across APAC,” says Jean-Paul. In addition, energy efficient trucks are being employed with a view to using the biofuel or electric vehicles of the future.
In Belgium, 25.5 metre ECO-COMBI trucks are being used to deliver up to 30 pallets of Glass Mineral Wool which enables the company to deliver the same volume of product but using 30% fewer standard trailers cutting emissions by 20%.
Knauf Insulation is also partnering with its Transportation Management System provider to develop CO2 emissions calculations based on primary data.
Using this information, Knauf Insulation can carry out complex calculations to assess truck routes, engine types and weight loads to establish the most carbon-effective way to transport goods, says Julian Fassin, Central Supply Chain Project Management Officer.
We are also strengthening our collaboration with organisations such as Smart Freight Center – an international non-profit organisation which focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from freight transportation – to gain the insight we need for our future transportation strategy.
Meanwhile, we have also introduced more recycled material to our packaging and we are experimenting with package compression and the optimal thickness of the plastic required to keep transportation loads stable during delivery, ensuring they are dry and weather-proof.
“We have reduced the thickness of our packaging, but it is a fine balance between the carbon saved from using less virgin plastic and strengthening the packaging to accommodate higher compression levels that could be used to load eve more products on a truck,” says Jean-Paul.
“It is balance that we are constantly reassessing to create the optimal carbon reduction overall.”
On the road to greener loads
Knauf Insulation Northern Europe has been working with its haulier Farrall’s Group and CNG Fuels to trial a Scania UK CNG to see how a greener fuel alternative can reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
The results of a trial throughout January and February 2022 revealed a 90% reduction in CO2 produced per truck per annum.
As a result of the trial and as part of Knauf Insulation’s joint Continuous Improvement programme within the supply chain, Farrall’s Group plans to order a group of CNG vehicles to be fully operational in 2023.