Response from to World Economic Forum initiatives
James Coombes, CEO at, is well-placed to discuss industry issues and here he explores how and why forwarders should take crucial steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
Comment from James Coombes, CEO at

“The global freight transportation sector is making great strides towards reducing its carbon footprint, and we welcome the World Economic Forum’s initiatives such as the buyers’ alliance to help make this happen. In an industry steeped in tradition, change must happen and we believe technology has a major role to play.

“As a supplier working with freight forwarders globally, we see the potential for our sector to significantly lower Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and save tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. 

“One way is by reducing the enormous amount of paper consumed across the industry. The transactions and the movements of goods across the world require millions of physical documents – such as purchase orders, invoices and Bills of Lading. To put it into context, it’s estimated that a single transaction requires on average 36 documents, 240 copies and the involvement of 27 entities.

“The emissions resulting from this excessive use of paper and printing amount to more than 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year according to some estimates. These stem from a complex logistical structure, one which is reliant on outdated processes.

“Imagine the impact if freight firms collectively invested in technology that is capable of minimising the reliance on vast amounts of paper-based documentation. If our industry puts the right digital tools in place, we will see a more streamlined and sustainable way of processing customs declarations, sending shipment pre-alerts and managing accounts payable invoices – all key elements which are required by forwarders to successfully facilitate the transportation of goods.”


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Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, International Trade Magazine

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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