Global Green Freight Action Plan – Reducing the Climate and Health Impacts of Goods Transport

Context of Transport Climate Action

The Global Green Freight Action Plan aims to foster the environment-friendly transport of goods within and between countries in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions and other highly damaging pollutants.

This involves expanding and harmonizing green freight programs and improving fuel efficiency, while protecting public health and boosting innovation in the global freight transportation supply chain.

According to the International Agency Energy’s World Energy Outlook, the transportation sector contributes roughly 23 percent of global CO2 emissions and about 19% of emissions of black carbon, a powerful driving force behind climate change which also has significant, negative health impacts.

Supported by 50 organizations including governments, the private sector and civil society , the Global Green Freight Action Plan was announced at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2014.

It is now part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) and is coordinated by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).


Green Freight Programs and Initiatives Picking up Speed

Green freight programs can accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies and strategies that save fuel, reduce costs for business, and lead to significant reductions of CO2, black carbon, particulate matter and other air pollutant emissions across the entire freight transport supply chain.

Green freight programs, partnerships, and collaborative initiatives have already been implemented as voluntary, market-based efforts in some countries and regions in various forms to drive improvement beyond business-as-usual. This includes both green freight ‘programs’ and green freight ‘initiatives.’

Under the Global Green Freight Action Plan, a green freight ‘program’ combines performance benchmarking, carbon accounting and disclosure with action plans, collaboration, and recognition for businesses’ efforts, e.g. through a label. An initiative may involve working on a subset of those activities or conducting research or work to support programs.

The most successful programs deliver major business benefits by incentivizing investments in fuel saving and emission reducing technologies and operational strategies.

These result in substantial cost savings and positive environmental, economic and energy security benefits.


The Global Green Freight Action Plan supports three key goals: align and enhance existing green freight efforts; develop and support new green freight programs globally; and incorporate black carbon reductions into green freight programs. These goals are being advanced by a range of actions and activities, such as a Global Green Freight website, pilot programs, targeted work in select countries, and the development of new forums for information exchange and capacity building.

The Action Plan was launched in May 2015 at the International Transport Forum, and there are now a growing number of governments and organizations that have committed to implement it. There is strong progress in on-going green freight activities at the national level in Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico and Vietnam, and we are looking at expanding this progress to more countries. The CCAC has approved the second tranche of funding for the green freight project under its Diesel Initiative, and as a part of the upcoming activities, capacity building activities such as regional workshops, pilots and demonstrations worldwide are being organized. At COP21, the Global Green Freight website will be launched, which will serve as a platform and clearing house for information exchange and support for developing or enhancing green freight programs and initiatives.

Successfully completing the Action Plan would result in an integrated network of national or regional green freight initiatives based on similar principles, partnership design, frameworks and core elements; use standardized quantification and performance benchmarking tools; share complementary branding and marketing efforts; partner with multinational business partners that move goods through the multimodal global supply chain; and have access to a common information and data sharing forum to improve data and policy making on freight activity and emission mitigations.


Success would result in quantifiable and significant near-term and long-term reductions of black carbon, toxics, greenhouse gases and other harmful diesel emissions from each of the participating countries, as well as quantifiable and significant fuel and cost savings which benefit the partners, offer payback on technology adoption, strengthen economies and enhance energy security. Lastly, we expect the Action Plan will result in expanded markets for emission reducing and fuel saving technologies.

Potential for scaling up

The Global Green Freight Action Plan is a starting point on the pathway to more sustainable global goods movement. The Plan is intended to serve as roadmap and blueprint to help scale up these efforts. It also serves as a new call to action for others to join and support this critical effort. Continued consultation and outreach on the Global Green Freight Action Plan will be conducted to identify the specific needs, challenges and opportunities in countries and regions to achieve the green freight action plan objectives, including in the areas of capacity-building, policy support and development, infrastructure, private sector involvement, etc.

Ministries, agencies and authorities which oversee environmental, energy, and transportation policy making in their countries are invited to engage in further development and implementation of the Action Plan. These stakeholders will be able to learn best practices and acquire lessons learned in developing and implementing green freight programs. They can also gain new insights on how these programs can complement or supplement efforts to improve the infrastructure, logistics sector, and regulatory programs in their countries. The collective results of these efforts should foster more sustainable economic development, energy security, and improved public health in their countries. Private sector support is pivotal to the success of green freight programs, and they have much to gain, including cost savings, enhanced competiveness, corporate leadership, and policy influence.

Selected references

Action Plan:










Mexico, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mitigation, Freight, Awareness, Partnerships, Policy


Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants


“Through the Global Green Freight Action Plan we can help countries that are committed to establish new or enhance existing green freight programs. There are examples, we have the action plan, we are going to have the tools, we have the partners. It will help improve energy efficiency, reduce climate change, address black carbon and other air pollutants – but more importantly, this is the one thing that appeals to business, because they will become more competitive by reducing costs.”
-Sophie Punte, Executive Director, Smart Freight Centre