Five multinational companies have committed to transition their medium- and heavy-duty truck fleets in OECD markets, China and India to zero emission vehicles by 2040, the environmental nonprofit Climate Group announced last week.

Ikea, Unilever, A.P. Moller – Maersk, JSW Steel Limited and GeoPost/DPDgroup have signed onto EV100+, a pledge to phase out their highest polluting vehicles, as the effort’s corporate founding members. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks account for about 4% of all vehicles on the world’s roads, but they account for 40% of all road transport emissions and one-third of total transport fuel use, according to the announcement.

Gas-powered trucks over 7.5 metric tons “represent the final frontier of zero-emission road transportation, and EV100+ will tackle the heaviest, most polluting vehicles across the world,” Sandra Roling, director of transport at Climate Group, said in a statement.

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks produced more than 5% of all global CO2 emissions in 2019, a percentage projected to rise to 11% by 2050 if companies do not take action to decarbonize their fleets, according to the Climate Group.

Heavy-duty road transportation must decarbonize to comply with the Paris Agreement, and the EV100+ founding members are driving demand from manufacturers and supporting governments in implementing policies encouraging EV adoption, the nonprofit said.

What founding members say about the pledge

Statements from executives of EV100+’s five founding companies underscore their understanding of their supply chains’ contributions to CO2 emissions and represents a public commitment to addressing them.

Collaboration across the transportation industry with confidence and clarity is key to accelerating zero-emission truck deployments, Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld, Ikea supply chain operations manager, said in a statement.

“The electrification of transport plays a big role in phasing out fossil fuels in the IKEA supply chain,” she said. “We are joining EV100+ to magnify the movement toward sustainable transportation. It is urgent and doable.”

Logistics accounts for 15% of Unilever’s total carbon footprint, making it a focal point in the CPG giant’s push for net-zero emissions across its value chain by 2039, Michelle Grose, vice president, Global Logistics and Fulfilment, said in a statement.

“In recent years we’ve made big strides on CO2 savings by improving efficiency and reducing the number of trucks on the road,” Grose said. “Now, alongside our EV100+ partners, we’ll be sending a powerful signal to governments, manufacturers and the wider industry. … We hope to inspire other companies to join us.”

Maersk aims to achieve net-zero emissions across its business by 2040, including its landside functions. The ocean carrier’s founding membership in the EV100+ initiative shows “customers, partners and manufacturers that we believe the future of our global medium- and heavy-duty fleet is net-zero emissions,” Morten Bo Christiansen, senior vice president and head of Decarbonisation, said in a statement.

Sanjay Rath, executive vice president – Commercial and Purchase at JSW Steel Limited, said in a statement that the company’s membership in the initiative is an advancement of its commitment to support India’s net-zero goal.

“JSW Steel has an ambitious target of reducing its carbon emission by 42% (versus base year 2005) by FY30,” Rath said. “We are currently on the journey towards achieving the target through a strategic climate action agenda and various steps in our operations.”

Jean-Claude Sonet, GeoPost/DPDgroup executive vice president of marketing, communication and sustainability, said in a statement that his company, too, has set a 2040 goal for transitioning its medium- and heavy-duty truck fleets to zero-emissions. All sectors must work together for society to succeed in meeting ambitious global client goals, Sonet said.

“We are therefore excited to work alongside other like-minded businesses to send a powerful message to both governments and manufacturers that we believe the future of trucking is zero-emission,” Sonet said.