Lomond electric

Source: Lomond Fine Foods

Scottish foodservice wholesaler and SWA member Lomond Fine Foods has switched 20 of its vehicles to low-emissions technology

The Scottish Wholesale Association has urged government to fund an emissions-beating training programme as the carbon footprint of fleets is laid bare for the first time in a new report.

The results of the first phase of the trade association’s “ground-breaking” ‘Decarbonisation of the Wholesale Industry’ project has revealed the sector emits 111k tonnes of CO2 per year from 2,198 vehicles.

SWA CEO Colin Smith said this research was “the most detailed undertaken by any sector involved in logistics and haulage and is based on real data and evidence, compiled direct from our members”.

A ‘roadmap’ to achieving net zero emissions was included in the report but would rely on hydrogen-powered vehicles. However despite this being “the only commercially viable option for HGVs”, adoption is likely to be “many years away”.

The SWA warned the “prohibitive cost” of new vehicles or the financial burden of adapting existing fleets, along with the lack of fuelling infrastructure, “is preventing wholesalers transitioning to hydrogen”.

“These newly-available figures shine a spotlight on the barriers and challenges facing food and drink wholesalers as they seek ways to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Smith. “The will is there but our members need more support from the Scottish government to get there.

“We need the Scottish government to provide financial support for wholesalers to implement an industry-wide driver efficiency training programme to reduce emissions. We need more financial support to enable more wholesalers, particularly smaller ones who have suffered so much over the past 18 months, to join us on this important journey.”

The SWA is also asking for wider financial support from government to set up a wholesale fleet audit service, enable the transition to green fleets, and for research that will help identify further routes to efficiencies within the wholesale sector.