Lean and Green, The Road to Zero Emissions in Logistics and Personal Mobility

Context of Transport Climate Action

Lean and Green is a motivational program started in 2008 in the Netherlands for businesses and authorities active in the provision of mobility services and operations for passenger and freight. The program is implemented by Connekt and since 2008 it has expanded to other European countries such as Germany, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Lean and Green aims to encourage businesses and authorities to move to a higher level of sustainability in the field of logistics and personal mobility, by taking measures that do not only yield cost savings but, at the same time, reduce the burden on the environment. For example, program members receive their first Lean and Green Star by reducing their CO2 emissions by 20% in a five year time period.

Connekt is an independent network of companies and authorities that are working together towards improving mobility in the Netherlands in a sustainable manner. Connekt seeks to extend its membership base and encourages the sharing of knowledge, know-how and initiatives amongst its current members. The object of this network collaboration is to develop markets for companies in a pre-competitive, co-operative manner and to implement policy for authorities in an effective way. Connekt maintains a constant focus on new developments in the field of mobility, the main aspects of interest being Inland Transport Systems, logistics and public transport. It is also responsible for numerous activities that facilitate the exchange of knowledge and co-operation between its members.


Integrating corporate social responsibility into business is not new; well-managed companies now accept that sustainability and economics are compatible with the ethics of social responsibility. However, the Lean and Green program aims to motivate a wider group of companies to take long-term sustainability actions and helps them to do this with their system of public recognition of milestones achieved in CO2 reduction by the award of Lean and Green Stars. These milestones (awards) are recognized both by governments and the private sector and celebrated as steps towards the shared goal of zero emission.

The Lean and Green members set the program goals themselves. Connekt regularly organizes network meetings, so members can exchange ideas and formulate realistic targets and milestones on the road to zero emissions.

Lean and Green Star awards for member companies have been organized in two phases to date, each phase having specific framework targets. Firstly, companies that joined the Lean and Green program in 2008 agreed to take action to reduce their fuel use, distances travelled, the use of wasteful or unnecessary packaging and to increase energy efficiency. Such cost-saving measures allowed many of them to quickly and easily reach the first award program target of 20% reduction in CO2 – and to win their first Lean and Green Star award. In addition these actions also saved costs and increased their company profits. Of all 450 Lean and Green frontrunner companies, more than 100 Lean and Green winners have already reached this first framework program target.

However, in order to reach zero emission, much more needs to be done. Twenty Lean and Green frontrunner companies in the Netherlands have asked Connekt to advise them on practicable steps to zero emission, within the so-called ‘five star perspective’. If a company has taken five measurable steps on the road to zero emission, it wins five Lean and Green Stars.

Since its launch in 2008, 18 members of the Dutch Lean and Green programme have already won their second phase Lean and Green Star for achieving higher levels of sustainability; these companies developed innovative forms of co-operation for the optimization of their supply chains and for the absolute measurements and the ease of comparability of their CO2-emissions data.

One of the second phases awards winners is the Dutch brewery Bavaria, will launch the 3rd Lean and Green Star award profile with Connekt at their premises in Lieshout, Netherlands at the end of November 2015. Together with the other 17 Lean and Green 2nd Star Winners they will develop the framework targets for the 3rd Lean and Green Star awards.


So far more than a hundred projects and collaborations have been undertaken via the Lean and Green program as a whole. One example of what can be achieved is the Synchromodal project, which has persuaded several hauliers to shift their consignments from the road to the water. Results from three of these hauliers, who now combine their goods onto one ship, means that 400 lorries have been taken off the roads.

At each level the targets have been set in consultation and agreement with the network member companies. The present Lean and Green network of almost 450 shippers, retailers and logistic service providers will meet together at Bavaria brewery (one of the frontrunner company members of the program) to put together, in consultation, the common goals for CO2 reduction levels that have to be achieved in order to be awarded the 3rd Lean and Green Star.

More background information: (http://lean-green.nl/uploads/2015/03/lean-and-green-metrics-2014118.pdf).


Lean and Green Frontrunners from the logistics area alone have already achieved a total reduction of more than 400,000 tonnes of CO2 in a period of 6 years.

Potential for scaling up

Transport and mobility lead to economic development and enhanced living standards. However, they also lead to air pollution, due to the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) such as CO2 and other pollutants such as particulate matter and NOx. These GHG emissions are affecting and changing our climate.

The situation in developing countries

Low- and middle-income countries, in regions such as Africa, South East Asia and Western Pacific, are disproportionately affected by climate change problems (World Health Organization WHO 2014). The situation will become worse, according to current predictions by the World Energy Outlook (2014 ), as demand for fossil fuel especially for transport in these areas will increase to 2030 and beyond.

… and the need for Lean and Green

The WHO recommends “shifting to clean modes of power generation; prioritizing rapid urban transit, walking and cycling networks in cities as well as rail interurban freight and passenger transportation; shifting to cleaner heavy- duty diesel vehicles and low-emission vehicles and fuels, including fuels with reduced sulfur content”. Bringing about these radical changes is partly the responsibility of government but, in the end, employers and employees will also need to make significant changes. An effective and proven stimulation program such as Lean and Green can help to implement changes in business practices.

Lean and Green successes
Since 2008, the Lean and Green program has motivated more than 400 companies in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy to commit themselves to the target of 20% CO2 reduction within five . When they reach this target, they are awarded their first Lean and Green Star.

Other success factors of Lean and Green are:

–          Connekt is a social ; it is a non-profit, independent public-private network of 125 organisations, such as KPN, ECT, Siemens, Capgemini, Vialis and the Dutch Ministries of Economy, Infrastructure and the Environment;

–          Connekt helps to change the way people ; the Lean and Green community provides a trusted environment, helping to forge new and innovative collaborations and further the sustainability of the sector.

–          Lean and Green helps these companies to make changes and introduce innovative collaborations and they benefit from the recognition of being awarded the Lean and Green Star.

Selected references







November 25th, 2015




Global, Mitigation, Passenger, Freight, Technology, Awareness, Policy, Partnerships, Finance




Harsha Dijk: Dijk@connekt.nl