Nestlé, Unilever and AB InBev among groups calling for more zero-emission trucks and vans on Europe’s roads

A unique alliance of brands and retailers – including Nestlé, Unilever, REWE Group and AB InBev – transport industry players and NGOs have called on the new European Commission to set sales targets for zero-emissions trucks and vans. In a letter, the 30 businesses, haulier companies and associations, and cities and regions told incoming EU climate chief Frans Timmermans that binding truck and van sales targets for 2025 and 2030 – as part of his European Green Deal – are needed to overcome a lack of supply of the clean vehicles they have been calling for.

There is growing demand in the transport sector for an EU strategy for zero-emissions city logistics because the supply of clean trucks from manufacturers is nearly non-existent, according to the letter which is also addressed to new EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Shifting freight transport away from fossil fuels is one of the most effective ways to tackle carbon and air pollution, they write, but right now many companies are being forced to build their own electric vehicles.

Bart Vandewaetere, head of corporate communications and government relations for Nestlé zone Europe, Middle East & North Africa, said: “We have a strong ambition as a company: we want to be carbon neutral by 2050. To meet this ambition, we are taking actions to successfully address the carbon impact of our operations.

"We also want to leverage technology to reduce carbon emissions of our road transport. We however see limited development of zero-emission trucks. We therefore support ambitious and binding sales target to accelerate the uptake of more zero-emission vehicles in Europe. This would help guide all players into the same direction and help make Europe the first climate-neutral continent.”

A dedicated European investment fund is also needed to support new charging infrastructure for electric vans and trucks, they said. The fund and sales targets should be proposed within the first 100 days of the new Commission, helping Europe’s auto industry to lead on innovation while at the same time putting road freight on a path to decarbonisation and improving the air we breathe. Moreover, the signatories call for the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target to be increased to 55% and for the bloc to go climate-neutral by 2050. 

Stef Cornelis, clean trucks manager at sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E), said: “Vice-President Timmermans cannot deliver on his promises without cleaning up the road freight sector. Given the major brands and transport industry players signing this letter, it’s clear the demand is there. Now we need the right EU incentives to finally get the supply. The new Commission should follow other regions like California and introduce these targets without any delay.”

Transport emissions have increased four years in a row and now represent 27% of the EU’s total emissions. Within road transport, heavy goods vehicles account for 22% of CO2 emissions. 

Read more:

Letter: Businesses, transport industry players and NGOs call for EU strategy for zero-emission city logistics

Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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