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Unilever's 'Green Express' Train Is Latest Way to Cut Its Supply Chain Footprint

Image credit: Supply Chain Europe

Unilever has launched a new rail service in Italy called Green Express, as part of a wider eco-efficiency programme within its supply chain to support the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

The service delivers Unilever’s Algida brand ice cream from its factory near Naples, 700km to the logistics hub in Parma.

The direct connection, linking three lines, means that 3,500 trucks will be taken off the road each year, saving 40 million mega-joules of energy per year.

David Beauchamp, vice president logistics for Europe said: “Traditionally, goods have been transported by road in Italy but this model is designed to be a game-changer. This initiative is an example of great collaboration with Trenitalia and the Italian Ministry for Environment. We hope that other companies in Italy can also adopt similar rail transportation approaches.

“This is not just beneficial for the environment but also for costs; we estimate that this will achieve a six per cent reduction in costs per year — a win-win situation.”

By 2020, Unilever is aiming to ensure that CO2 emissions from its global logistics network will be at or below 2010 levels, representing a 40% overall improvement in CO2 efficiency. The company announced in April that it is well on its way toward achieving this goal, reducing GHG emissions throughout its operations by over a million tons while increasing sales by more than a quarter.

In other sustainable transport news, AT&T announced last month that it had joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership program, a collaboration between the EPA and freight and transport divisions of companies representing the manufacturing, retail, freight and logistics sectors to voluntarily improve fuel-efficiency and curb emissions.

Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor at Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]

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