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How Retail Consolidation Reduces Your GHG Emissions

Sustainable logistics is becoming increasingly important to brands, retailers, and transportation providers. Discover how retail consolidation can help you meet your greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Retail consolidation services (RCS) allow brands to work more closely with retailers and strengthen their relationships. One of the main benefits of RCS is to help reduce harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to meet brand and retailer needs. We’ll explore how RCS can limit environmental impacts, and show how GEODIS helps you achieve your carbon reduction goals.

Key takeaways


  • Reducing GHG emissions in the supply chain is becoming increasingly important to retailers, brands, and third-party logistics providers
  • RCS can provide up to a 13% reduction in carbon emissions through fewer truckloads on the road and optimal route planning
  • RCS also allows brands and retailers to work with low-emission carriers and with 3PLs that prioritize environmental concerns

The transportation and logistics sector bears responsibility for 11% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Companies that want to meet their sustainability goals should work with third-party logistics providers who put emissions reduction front and center.


Our internal tracking shows that retail consolidation services can help to reduce carbon emissions by up to 13%. 

RCS lowers the number of trucks on the road and their carbon emissions

One of the main aims of RCS is to consolidate shipments together. The way this works is:


  1. Various suppliers, vendors, and brands will send their products to a retail consolidation center.
  2. These products will typically be sent as multiple Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipments.
  3. The consolidation center will take all of these LTL shipments and combine them together.
  4. This creates one Full Truckload (FTL) that is going to a specific retailer.
  5. Instead of a retailer receiving multiple LTLs, they receive one FTL.

This results in fewer trucks on the road which can help to reduce carbon emissions.

Ground Transportation Retail Consolidation Coverage Map

RCS optimizes routes so that journeys are more efficient

3PL providers use sophisticated route optimization and modeling software. This creates the most efficient way for trucks to pick up loads and deliver them to the retailer. Some route optimization software can even take account of engine idling, truck speed, and the impact of these on carbon emissions. Less time on the road results in faster delivery and more sustainable transport.


Many 3PLs will also train their drivers on ecologically efficient driving (eco-driving). This is supported through monitoring engine usage and other telematics to optimize fuel usage.

RCS works with carriers that operate low-emission fleets

Federal and state rules and standards are encouraging manufacturers to move to low-carbon vehicles. Some carriers are experimenting with and investing in lower-emission trucks including reduced carbon, renewable natural gas, electric vehicles, and alternative fuels. RCS providers will explain your options to work with carriers who have strong emission reduction standards.

Integrated retail logistics services lower emissions in the end-to-end supply chain

RCS is just one aspect of retail logistics services. Full-service 3PLs can integrate RCS as part of a more sustainable supply chain. This can include consolidated container freight forwarding, inbound logistics, energy-efficient warehousing, and several other areas. 

LTL vs FTL Truckloads

RCS helps to meet retailer targets to lower emissions

Many retailers have announced plans to reduce their supply chain and other emissions. Some examples include:



These big-box retailers may be more likely to work with brands that use retail consolidation to lower supply chain emissions. 

RCS emissions reduction can be part of a 3PLs commitment to greater corporate social responsibility

Reducing GHG emissions through retail consolidation is just part of how a 3PL can demonstrate their corporate social responsibility (CSR). For example, GEODIS focuses its global CSR initiatives on three main objectives:


  • Mitigate and lower our impact on the environment and contribute to the fight against climate change
  • Enhance our social and societal impact through the well-being and development of our people and local communities
  • Maintain compliance and act responsibly towards our workforce, clients, partners, stakeholders, regulatory bodies, and others


If you want to work with a responsible partner that's focused on sustainability, you may want to research their CSR commitments in more detail.

How GEODIS stacks up on sustainability

EcoVadis, the ratings agency for CSR performance, has awarded the gold medal to the global GEODIS Group for its high level of CSR engagement. GEODIS is among the top 7% of the most advanced companies for CSR, out of 90,000 companies assessed, and in the top 2% of companies in its sector.


GEODIS global sustainability results:


  • Ecovadis: With a Gold medal and an overall score of 70/100, GEODIS is in the top 2% of companies assessed in the freight road transport sector, including a score of 90/100 for environmental performance
  • CDP: GEODIS achieves the Leadership level and receives an "A-" score for disclosing action on climate through CDP, reflecting its commitment to the fight against climate change


Please note that these figures are the latest we have available at the time of publishing in early 2024. Some of these figures apply to the global GEODIS Group, rather than the Americas region specifically. For the most up-to-date CSR and emissions information, please contact us. 


In the U.S., based on our internal tracking, GEODIS has achieved up to 13% reduction in carbon emissions through our retail consolidation service.


Frequently asked questions about retail consolidation and sustainability

Retail consolidation combines Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipments into Full-Truckload (FTL) shipments. Without consolidation, each of those LTL shipments would be on a separate truck to a retailer, with each vehicle generating greenhouse gasses. RCS might combine up to four LTLs into one FTL, resulting in fewer trucks on the road and correspondingly lower carbon emissions.

It might. Many of the big-box retailers in the U.S. have made commitments to significantly reduce their carbon emissions. As part of these targets, they are requiring suppliers to meet certain GHG reduction and other standards. RCS can be an important step to meeting retailer requirements. Our internal tracking shows that RCS can reduce emissions by up to 13%.

Federal and state policies are encouraging supply chain businesses to choose more sustainable options. Although it's more challenging to shift freight transport providers than individuals, more carriers are investing in alternative fuels. These can include biofuels, low-carbon fuels, and natural gas. 

A robust CSR approach is a good indication that a logistics provider takes their environmental responsibilities seriously. As emissions reduction compliance becomes more stringent, you'll want to partner with a 3PL that demonstrates strong CSR results. That way, you can be confident your retail logistics meet the latest regulatory standards across shipment consolidation and other retail services.

How GEODIS can help

GEODIS is one of the biggest retail logistics and RCS providers in the U.S. and around the world. Here's what you can expect when you work with us:


  • A leading on-time, in-full rate of 98%
  • Strategically located warehouses and distribution centers throughout the U.S.
  • Reach 99.5% of the continental U.S. in two days or fewer
  • Emissions reduction of up to 13% through shipment consolidation
  • Strong relationships with major big-box retailers
  • A wide and deep national, regional, and local carrier network
  • Best-in-class retail consolidation services
  • Standard operating procedures to meet retailer guidelines
  • Complete quality control and auditing of all retail shipments and products
  • Integration with the full range of transportation, warehousing, and freight forwarding GEODIS services
  • Real-time visibility throughout the supply chain

Delight retailers by choosing GEODIS as your 3PL partner. Get in touch with us to discover how we can optimize your retail operations to reduce GHG emissions and enhance your retailer deliveries.