The first temperature-controlled electric vehicles arrived in July – including two 19-tonne Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and two electric vans. Sysco hopes to build a model for electric multi-temperature HGV deliveries as it tests the performance of the vehicles and batteries; collect data on the complexity of charging and route planning; and identify the infrastructure required.
“Our vehicles cover almost 60 million miles a year,” said Mark Jenkins, supply chain and operations director for Sysco GB.
“Transforming our fleet to zero-emissions will be vital to achieving the company’s ambitious science-based climate targets and supporting our customers to achieve their own.
“We’re excited to be delivering to customers in zero-emission multi-temperature vehicles, which can save around 69 tonnes of carbon per HGV each year,” when compared to a conventional 18-tonne EURO VI diesel HGV, running a traditional refrigeration unit. Vehicle saving is approximately 52 tonnes and fridge saving approximately 17 tonnes of CO2.
“When you consider the impact of expanding that to our entire fleet, the potential is huge.”
Requires significant investment
However, there are still many barriers to converting the entire fleet – primarily cost and infrastructure.
“Innovation in electric vehicles and battery technology is moving incredibly fast, and vehicle range is no longer the biggest barrier. To convert our entire fleet would require significant investment in the UK’s charging infrastructure and a commitment from the industry to invest in the vehicle technology and therefore lower the cost,” explained Jenkins.
“We are investigating all options and welcome partnerships with industry and government to join us in pioneering the future of foodservice delivery.”
Ambitious climate goal
The GB pilot programme is particularly timeous – with the country facing mounting havoc from soaring temperatures and a drought that is expected to last well into next year, according to the Environment Agency – and supports Sysco’s ambitious climate goal to reduce emissions across entire value chain, which includes 333 distribution facilities worldwide services around 700,000 customer locations (posting $68bn in revenue for FY2022).
The company is aiming to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 27.5% between 2019 and 2030 and recently added 2,500 electric vehicles to its US fleet. It also is pushing its suppliers – which represent 67% of spend – to set their own science-based targets by 2026.
In its 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, it reported that at least 80 Sysco suppliers, representing nearly 30% of our CY2019 Scope 3 emissions, have already committed to or set targets aligned to SBTi criteria.