Transport Efficiency Commitment

FDF members are committed to embedding environmental standards into their transport practices, including their contracts with hauliers as they fall for renewal, to achieve 'fewer and friendlier' food transport miles and to making a contribution to the Freight Transport Association administered Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme target to reduce the carbon intensity of freight operations by 8% by 2015 against a 2010 baseline.


Few people in modern societies are self-sufficient in food and drink. It is generally provided on a commercial scale and transported from plough to plate within a globally competitive market. Transporting food and drink, like all other goods, has environmental and social impacts.

Research commissioned by Defra[1] on the UK food chain shows these overwhelmingly as the impacts of road congestion, damage to infrastructure, and road accidents. There are also impacts on air and noise pollution and CO2 emissions, though to a much lesser extent.

In October 2007, FDF launched its Five-fold Environmental Ambition. We committed to make a significant contribution to improving the environment by targeting priorities where our members can make the biggest difference.

Under this, and dovetailing with IGD's work on greater transport collaboration across the food chain, FDF developed an environmental checklist to encourage our members to achieve fewer and friendlier food miles. We also developed an environmental clause for use by our members in contracts as they fall for renewal. This asked third party hauliers to publish a fewer and friendlier food miles manifesto and to report annually on their environmental performance.

We are pleased that about 40 FDF member companies with a combined turnover of over £16bn have signed up to the checklist on day one. The vast majority use third party contractors and so will be applying the environmental clause.

FDF applauds the continued leadership being shown by members on this important agenda - the impact of which is best brought alive by the case studies included in this pack. By achieving 'fewer and friendlier' food transport miles, members will contribute to the challenge for the food chain to reduce its environmental and social impacts.

Step by step, and working collectively, we are pleased that FDF members are making a difference to the environment – both now and for the future.


Transport Commitment

FDF's 10 Point Checklist for Greener Food Transport

FDF members are committed to embedding environmental standards in their food transport practices, including contracts with hauliers as they fall for renewal, to achieve 'fewer and friendlier' food transport miles.

FDF has developed the 10 Point Checklist for Greener Food Transport to help members achieve this goal.


  • I. What is my/your company's policy on maximising vehicle loading whether through the use of double decks for lower density loads or running at maximum gross weight for higher density?
  • II. What is the ratio of trailers to tractors across my/your fleet given that a high ratio can help reduce waiting times and lead to less trucks on the road?
  • III. What is my/your company's fleet replacement policy and how long will it be before all vehicles in the fleet are ones which comply with the latest EU emissions regulations, e.g. EU IV & EU V?
  • IV. What use do my/your company make of vehicle tracking technology (i.e. computerised vehicle routing and scheduling including satellite tracking) to minimise environmental impact?
  • V. Does my/your company record empty running and, in turn, collaborate with others, including by sub contracting, to try and reduce it?
  • VI. What 'lanes' does my/your company currently operate on and are there any which we/you consistently or occasionally avoid due to higher environmental impacts? Does my/your company record and avoid difficult drop points, which cause most delay and/or failed deliveries?
  • VII. What proportion of my/your company's current annual mileage/tonnage moved is by rail and/or ship and what is its policy on increasing such transport usage?
  • VIII. Does my/your company encourage, through its own volition or through participation in industry fora, innovation and best practice in for example development of more efficient vehicle design (including through use of 'aero kits'), alternative fuels, lubricants, refrigerants and tyres produced without high aromatic extender oils in the rubber matrix?
  • IX. What are my/your company's policies on training its drivers to reduce environmental impact through better driving practice?
  • X. What are my/your company's policies on vehicle maintenance and the retention of correct tyre pressures given their relevance to fuel efficiency? Where refrigerated transport is used this should include maintenance of equipment and insulation to prevent and minimise leakage of refrigerants.

The Role of FDF Members

FDF member companies following the 10 Point Checklist for Greener Food Transport are encouraged to use it as a review aid in relation to their own fleets or, as in most cases, to embed its principles at the heart of their relationships with third party road hauliers.

In this regards FDF has also developed an environmental clause for use by our members in contracts as they fall for renewal.

Draft Environmental Clause

The Carrier undertakes to the Customer that it shall:

a) within [ ] months of the commencement of the Services develop, publish and provide the Customer with a copy of a “fewer and friendlier” food transport miles manifesto which sets out how the Carrier will operate to reduce the environmental and social impact of its food transport (“the Manifesto”). The Manifesto should take into account the “10 point checklist for greener food transport” published by the Food and Drink Federation (“FDF”) which can be found at and should incorporate identified targets for improvements in specified timescales; and

b) once a year during the term of the Contract, within [ ] of written request by the Customer, provide to the Customer a qualitative written report on the Carrier's progress against the objectives and targets set out in the Manifesto (in particular, identifying where progress has been achieved through the following: greater capacity vehicles, engine specifications, vehicle telematics, transport collaboration, logistics system redesign and modal shift from road to rail or shipping), which report the Carrier hereby agrees may be disclosed by the Customer to the FDF for the purposes of compilation of a consolidated report on progress in the greener food transport initiative across the FDF membership which may be published by the FDF, provided that results shown will not be attributed to individual Carriers by name without their prior consent.


FTA's Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme

During 2013 we realigned our transport ambition to include making a contribution to the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme target to reduce the carbon intensity of freight operations by 8% by 2015 compared to 2010. This was in order to maintain a hard target now that the IGD HGV mile saving target had been achieved in 2012. The Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme is a collective, voluntary initiative, managed by the Freight Transport Association, open to any business which purchases fuel for one or more commercial vehicles. Results for the first year of the Scheme showed that it delivered a 2.8% reduction in overall CO2e emissions in 2011 compared to 2010. This suggests that the Scheme is well on track to meeting its 2015 target.

FDF will report on progress in its annual Five-fold Environmental Ambition Progress Reports due at the end of each year along with any relevant case studies.

FDF's 10 point Checklist for Greener Food Transport remains the cornerstone of our efforts to embed environmental standards in our members' food transport practices. However IGD ECR UK has also produced a number of guidance documents on different aspect of distribution all of which are free to download from the IGD website.

More Information


  1. Reducing the external Costs of Domestic Transportation of Food by the Food Industry, Faber Maunsell, 2007

Last reviewed: 29 Jan 2016