Transport: the business opportunity of the net zero transition in the East of England

The Centre for Climate Engagement and Institute of Directors East of England are collaborating on an event series throughout 2022, with regular events for non-executive directors, board members and business leaders in the East of England to accelerate business climate action in the region.

This third and final event in the series focused on Transport and how businesses can decarbonise their supply chains and reduce their emissions from transport, as well as highlighting the opportunities available to businesses associated with this. 

You can also watch the full event recording here.

Top Takeaways

  • Businesses need to understand their own transport systems within their organisation, both in the supply chain and how their employees travel – increased knowledge in this area presents a significant opportunity both to reduce costs and carbon emissions from transport.
  • Businesses can and should actively engage with local and regional councils to support the development of sustainable transport infrastructure aligned to the needs of their business.
  • Identify the quick-wins your business can benefit from today to reduce costs and emissions: make use of the sustainable transport infrastructure and solutions already available, consider the size of vehicle needed to transport goods, and improve efficiency by looking at the emissions throughout your business transport systems to identify the quick-wins.

Keynote introduction from Dan Thorp, Director Policy and Programmes, Cambridge Ahead

Cambridge Ahead represents major employers across the Cambridge city region and works across academia, business and civic community to ensure economic growth is both sustainable and inclusive.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region has 25% higher emissions than the UK average, which is driven largely by transport

Dan highlighted the opportunities for businesses in the more flexible post-pandemic working environment:

  1. Businesses should actively engage and collaborate with local authorities to encourage investment into public transport and cycling infrastructure. The scale of change required to decarbonise the transport sector needs a collaborative and long-term outlook, in order to overcome the short term challenges that it poses.
  2. Lean into the possibilities that flexible working offers. Employees can benefit from the opportunity to commute on quieter trains and buses or cycle on quieter routes, improving their work-life balance while also reducing transport emissions.
  3. Embrace opportunities from new technologies and emerging modes of transport. Research from Cambridge Ahead from schemes trialing e-bikes and e-scooters,  highlights an opportunity for employers to play an active role and work with local authorities to provide the appropriate infrastructure for their employees to use these micro-mobility forms of transport to travel to work, which have been positively received from participants of the scheme.


Dan Thorp
Director Policy and Programmes,
Cambridge Ahead

Panel Presentations

GridServe – delivering sustainable energy and Transport
Zedify – sustainable last mile delivery service
Woodland Group – logistics, e-commerce and supply chain management services provider

Sam Clarke, Chief Vehicle Officer, GridServe 

Mission of GridServe: to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change.

GridServe’s journey from Sun to Wheel:

  1. Produce and store energy from the sun through Gridserve’s solar farms and battery storage systems.
  2. Provide clean energy to customers through Gridserve electric forecourts and charging points, available at 85% of service stations in UK, charging approximately 120,000 vehicles every month, with plans for rapid expansion over the next few years.
  3. Brokerage of electric vehicles – guidance and support to encourage the switch to EVs
  4. Invest in new technologies to increase electric charging capability – 5,000 high power chargers by 2025 – and facilitate charging of every vehicle no matter the shape or size.
Sam Clarke
Chief Vehicle Officer,

Key learnings from GridServe:

  • Educate and raise awareness of the benefits and opportunities in the transition to electric vehicles to all industry players.
  • Technology is rapidly advancing – in only a couple of years the technology to electrify large HGV vehicles has improved significantly to become a promising option.
  • Land-use argument: grounded solar takes up ~0.1% agricultural land in UK and even in current projections, it will only increase to 0.5% in coming decades. Furthermore, solar farms can be installed on infertile land, GridServe employ biodiversity managers to ensure solar farms are managed sustainably and wildlife is encouraged in the areas they operate.
  • Make use of the infrastructure already available, for example Royal Mail uses GridServe’s electric forecourts rather than heavily investing in building its own infrastructure.

Sam Keam, Co-founder and Chief Sustainability Officer, Zedify

Mission of Zedify: to transform urban logistics and create healthier, cleaner and more liveable cities that are better for everyone.

Zedify’s strategy for addressing the challenge of last-mile delivery and logistics:

  1. Edge of city consolidation hubs – to combine local deliveries within cities and reduce emissions.
  2. Use of electric cargo bikes wherever feasible – more sustainable and it’s what the consumer wants.
  3. Tech platform – this provides customers with up-to-date information on their delivery times and increased flexibility.
Sam Keam
Co-founder and Chief Sustainability Officer,

Opportunities Zedify has taken advantage of:

  • Remote working and the boom in online retail has increased the demand for deliveries. Projections show a 36% rise in demand for delivery vans on streets by 2030, but the spatial urban footprint available cannot sustain this. The e-cargo bike presents fewer risks to pedestrians and no road damage.
  • Consumer behaviour and preference – Zedify has found that customers are increasingly concerned about the climate impact of their deliveries, e-cargo bikes produce 90 less emissions than a van.
  • Congestion and delays in cities contribute to consumers not getting the best service. E-cargo bikes are on average 10-30% faster than delivery vans, this efficiency can offset the costs of the consolidation hubs.
  • Improved energy efficiency – e-cargo bikes don’t require a lot of energy, saving both costs and emissions.

The transport decarbonisation challenge requires a collaborative approach with an ecosystem of operators, in order to advance the development of more appropriate infrastructure.

Sam Warren, Sustainability Manager, Woodland Group

Mission of Woodland Group: an independent, specialist logistics and global supply chain management company with a desire to build an all-round sustainable business.

Woodland Group’s emissions reductions schemes:

  • Investment in fuel efficiency of the fleet, trialling alternative fuels and training for drivers. This has led to switching 80% of forklifts to electric alternatives, reduced pallet wrap usage by 40% by investing in new advanced warehouse technology and the installation of over 1200 solar panels at their sites.
  • Achieved ISO14001 and EcoVadis accreditations to give transparency to their clients and evidence their commitment to taking climate action.
  • Offer carbon conscious solutions to their clients, recognizing the lack of funding available to some companies in decarbonizing the supply chain. They provide this in two parts:
    1. Eco-transit: in-house data analysis to provide free monthly reports on customer’s transport emissions, energy consumption and costs for a range of different inter-modal transport routes. Software used by the Woodland Group is accredited by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
    2. Consultancy: offer logistics solutions to customers to cut their transport emissions and costs based on the reports, for example by switching travel from air to sea and road to rail, using alternative fuel types, improving efficiency and utilising  alternative routes.
  • Looking to the future, the Woodland Group is investigating alternative fuels, expanding last mile delivery partners, installing electric charging points at all operation sites and providing a support network for all clients aiming to incorporate sustainability into their operations.

Sam would be happy to be contacted if you are looking to make use of the Woodland group’s carbon reduction tools, please send a note to him on

Sam Warren
Sustainability Manager,
Woodland Group

There are quick-wins you can make today to save costs and emissions: consider the consolidation of every truckload and the size of vehicle to transport your goods.

Watch the Recording of the event