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Turning commitments into results

How Raben Group aims to reduce emissions

In the discussion on reducing emissions in transport, there are mainly threads related to the vehicles themselves or their use: electricity, hydrogen, biofuels. However, reducing the carbon footprint of the widely understood logistics sector, which includes not only transportation but also warehousing, is a much more complex and extensive issue. That is why at Raben Group we operate on many fronts and the Sustainability Strategy is a kind of 'road map' for us. 

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a priority for us and a key element of the Sustainability Strategy adopted in 2021. The goal is ambitious and in line with the Paris Agreement - to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. For Raben Group, this translates, among other things, into absolute reduction targets in Scopes 1 and 2 by 38.7% compared to 2020 emissions. (For more details on emissions ranges, see article 'Emissions - the greatest challenge for the planet and for reporting').

To achieve this, it is necessary to systematically implement a wide variety of solutions, the scope and impact of which are changing as technology develops and becomes more widespread. In some cases - such as emissions related to electricity consumption - the effects can be rapid and truly rewarding. In others, such as the decarbonisation of transport, we will still have to wait for results.

Electrified transport is slowly becoming a reality

Despite the rapid growth of the zero-emission commercial vehicles segment, electrification of heavy transport is still at a very early stage of development. Being still a relatively new technology, it requires a well-planned and executed implementation preceded by testing not only under controlled conditions, but also in day-to-day operations. This is what the joint project between Raben Transport, Ikea Industry and Volvo Trucks has been doing for two years now.

We are currently using three electric trucks: we deployed the first in October 2022 and the other two in July 2023. They all handle internal transports between the furniture manufacturer's two factories (in Zbąszynek and Babimost, 12 km apart). Emissions are reduced to zero by recharging vehicles at IKEA sites with electricity that comes exclusively from renewable sources. The tractors, working with 24-tonne trailers, carry out up to 36 deliveries a day in three shifts, six days a week. The results of the pilot phase of the project are very promising: by the beginning of November 2023, the trucks had achieved a mileage of more than 117,000 km, which corresponded to just under 174,000 kWh of energy consumed and more than 32,000 kWh recovered by recuperation thanks to the correct driving technique of Raben drivers.

The successful implementation of the project was one of the arguments for a similar initiative in Germany, where we decided to invest in new electric tractors. Purchases are being made under the government's subsidy programme, which covers not only these types of tractors but also the charging infrastructure, thus significantly reducing their cost and facilitating deployment.

Biofuels in transport

A measure that does not require additional investment costs but yields tangible results is to switch from conventional fuels to biofuels. However, a barrier to the uptake of such a solution is the cost of the alternative fuel and its limited availability. On the other hand, on the basis of the available indicator databases, the reduction potential of biofuels can be identified as significant. In the case of HVO100 (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil), we are talking about a reduction in the fuel lifecycle emissions of up to 87% compared to diesel with standard biocomponent content.

In 2023, we started refuelling biodiesel in markets where it is available (e.g. Austria, the Netherlands, Germany), helping to reduce total emissions in the third quarter by 180 tonnes of CO2e[1]. At present, it already fuels 18 vehicles belonging to Raben Group, and our aim is to steadily increase the share of biofuels in our own fleet.

Greater efficiency

The first steps made towards low- and zero-emission freight transport have made us realise that action needs to be taken in every possible area. This is why we are not only investing in new technologies, but also systematically modernising our fleet: at the moment, 99% of Raben Group’s vehicles already meet the Euro VI standard, which reduces fuel consumption. In addition, we are involving our carriers in the fleet renewal. Thanks to a concerted effort, more than 90%of the vehicles providing services to our customers are EURO V or VI standard.

The e-trailers we are testing, i.e. trailers equipped with an electric drive system in the axle, also serve to reduce emissions. They support the tractor with its own energy, e.g. when starting or climbing hills, and thus reduce diesel consumption. We also care about transport efficiency - with this in mind we use double decker trailers. Their design (double floor and two levels that can be filled with cargo) allows them to carry 66 pallets instead of 33 while maintaining the total weight limit of the set. This solution has a particularly strong impact on reducing emissions intensity[2].

In addition, we focus on precise measurement, planning and driving technique. We determine the optimum routes, and our drivers receive ecodriving training, during which they learn to drive economically, which results in lower fuel consumption and, consequently, lower emissions.

Cargo that travelled by rail

It is also worth recalling the important role played by intermodal transport in reducing emissions. Raben Group offers its customers transports that take into account rail connections which can significantly reduce emissions intensity. In the case of the train, taking into account the mode of transport or the energy used, the average emission intensity is 18 g CO2e. For a 40-tonne combination consisting of a tractor and semi-trailer, this rate ranges from 60 (with good loading performance) to 92 gCO2e/tkm. Even assuming the optimal option of road transport, using rail instead means three times lower emissions intensity.

Solar energy and storage facilities of the future

Raben Group is also working to reduce the emissions generated by warehousing services, most notably those related to electricity consumption. For seven years, starting from 2023, Raben will use 100% zero-emission energy at its own locations in Poland (until now, Raben Group has used the mechanism of the so-called energy guarantee of origin). This is the result of the so-called Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed back in 2021 with PGE Obrót. Under the agreement, photovoltaic farms with a total area of about 40 ha and a capacity of about 35 MWp were built specifically for our needs, providing 35,000 MWh per year. In 2022, the share of green electricity in storage and office infrastructure across Raben Group, i.e. in fifteen countries, was already 74.2%. At the same time, CO2 emissions in the first two ranges decreased by 26.2% compared to the base year (2020).  

A huge achievement, both in terms of climate protection and the transformation of Raben Group itself, is the zero-emission warehouses. We launched our first 'green' facilities over the past year in Germany (Herborn, Regensburg), the Netherlands (Oss) and Poland (Robakowo near Poznań). More are being built in other Polish cities and in Austria.

We already took the decision several years ago that we would develop all our own facilities as zero-emission - this is now our investment standard. The concept is to combine photovoltaic panels and heat pumps, which in the right configuration can reduce emissions by up to 96%. We are also systematically installing the photovoltaic panels in existing centres, powering facilities in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Czechia and Poland. In locations where it is not possible to use the above technologies, we aim to reduce energy consumption through solutions such as changing lighting to LED technology, automatic lighting control, thermal insulation of hydraulic ramp platforms, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, rooftop lighting to provide access to natural light and lithium-ion forklifts.


An analysis of Raben Group's emissions structure shows a clear picture: the biggest challenge remains scope three, i.e., among other things, emissions from the supply chain. Measuring and reducing this impact requires a joint effort between us and our suppliers. We realise that this is not an easy task. On the other hand - if we ignore this challenge, we all face much more serious risks which are a consequence of the dynamic changes taking place in the natural and business environment.


[1] The reduction in this area was estimated on the basis of the emission factors provided by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; the calculation was independently verified by an auditor.

[2] Emission intensity (CO2e) is the number of grams of carbon dioxide emitted by 1 tonne of goods transported over a distance of 1 km.


Piotr Lachowicz

Group Sustainability Expert

Raben Group