Surface Solutions on the road to decarbonization

In line with the Group’s carbon neutrality ambitions, the Surface Solutions Business Unit is committed to decarbonizing its transport flows. Several exemplary initiatives have been implemented in the Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa region to accelerate this process.  

Surface Solutions sur la route de la décarbonation
© Pixabay

Since 2020, Surface Solutions’ best sustainable transportation practices have already produced conclusive results: in Europe, 1,800 tons of CO2 have been avoided. Among these initiatives, the transport of containers by river from the port of Le Havre to the Conflans plant has saved more than 200 tons of CO2 in two years. Similarly, the emission of 12 tons of CO2 between the beginning of 2021 and June 2022 has been avoided thanks to the use of liquefied natural gas to propel the cargo ships bringing materials imported from China to France. The use of a double-decker truck running on biogas has also saved nearly 800 tons of CO2 on trade between France and the Netherlands. 

All the potential of multimodal transport is exploited to reduce the BU’s carbon footprint, without affecting the quality of service to customers. The use of piggybacking (a combination of rail and road transport) is being tested for internal goods transport, with the objective of reducing emissions by 55% compared to the use of trucks alone. The combination of sea and road modes, implemented during the health crisis between Poland and the UK, has also led to a saving of 144 tons of CO2 since 2021. Since November 2022, this solution has also been applied to deliveries between Portugal and the Netherlands, resulting in an additional 53% reduction in emissions.  

With the deployment in the Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa zone of ECOTRANSIT, a free online software that calculates the carbon footprint of each mode of transport, all flows should now be measured. The data collected will be used to implement the most appropriate solutions, by rolling out the best practices already implemented – use of biogas or extension of the use of river transport and multimodal transport – and by exploring new avenues for improvement, such as the use of HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) diesel or hydrogen, or partnerships with carriers committed to environmental protection.

All of these Scope 3-related innovations are central to Saint-Gobain’s challenges and will undoubtedly help to achieve Surface Solutions’ overall objective of reducing transport-related emissions by 20% by 2025.