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Austrian logistics company remains climate-neutral amid business boom

Austrian logistics company remains climate-neutral amid business boom

COVID-19 facilitated a rise in digital commerce, yet “niceshops” maintained positive CO2 balance

Due to the pandemic, online retail has experienced a veritable boom and the Austrian-based company “niceshops” is no different. The company offers online deliveries for various products from horse feed to 3D printer parts and they reported a record 82% increase in sales for 2020. At the same time, they continued to be climate neutral.

Foundational principles for the future of retail

The company called “niceshops” is based in the Austrian state of Styria, with their logistics centre located in Saaz. It was founded in 2018 with an idea for the future and carbon neutrality in mind.

“niceshops” uses environmentally friendly and plastic-free materials for shipping, as well as 100% green electricity. The company itself produces a third of that via a photovoltaic roof in their Saaz logistics centre. At the same time, the centre is heated by energy from the neighbouring biogas plant.

Furthermore, “niceshops” uses a fleet of electric cars and the high energy efficiency of its building to reduce CO2 as much as possible. Still, there are some carbon emissions they cannot eliminate. What do they do about those?

To push for complete carbon net neutrality, the company invests in a mix of projects for the reduction of greenhouse gases in Bangladesh, India and Peru, with a plan to expand their green reach on the local level in Austria.

Ecological commitment – a “niceshops” trademark

The company earned more than 100 million euros for 2020, yet their greenhouse emissions went up by only 18%. Lisa Dobler, the company’s sustainability officer, thinks this is due to the bundle of carbon-reducing measures.

However, this is not enough. Ronald Fink, the managing director of “niceshops” wants to aim for net-zero emissions. This year, the company produced 1,000 tons of CO2, but the goal is to get that down to zero, creating long term carbon-reducing commitments in Austria or overseas. What those commitments might look like is still unclear.

Regardless of the outcome, “niceshops” delivers over 16,000 packages per day in a number of countries, and through its commitment to sustainability, it is showing a way forward for many logistics companies that will have a hard time in a carbon-free Europe in the coming years.

The European Union’s aggressive push on carbon emissions

With the European Union’s commitment to a drastic reduction of greenhouse gases by the middle of the 21st century, a lot of the onus falls on the private sector. The main areas, where the bloc has influence include energy production, industrial production and transportation.

Some of the measures that will help the EU achieve its target of no more than a 1.5°C increase in global temperatures are aggressively targeting key industries. Especially in the case of transportation and fossil fuel.

By the year 2035, all new cars and vans sold in the EU will have to be emission-free, meaning that transportation and logistics companies will face some tough calls if they are not prepared. The extent to which European companies’ low-carbon investment plans are compatible with this objective is a critical question.

The fact of the matter is that the ban on fossil fuel is coming and the private sector faces a single solution – to adapt and reduce carbon emissions.  

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