If you are interested in cutting down your carbon footprint in India, last-mile deliveries of goods to your doorstep may be working against your desire more than you realize. However, to help you conquer the last stretch of the sprint towards a no-zero emission lifestyle, NITI Aayog, RMI, and RMI India have come together to eradicate pollution from last-mile deliveries through a campaign called Shoonya.
The name, Shoonya is derived from the Sanskrit word for zero.
Companies involved in delivery services will be able to obtain Shoonya certification, which proves they are making their deliveries with zero-emission transportation. They will be allowed to include their Shoonya verification in their branding and put a compliance badge on the products they deliver.
The initiative will spur the deliveries companies to switch their fleet to electric as soon as possible. This will also hopefully encourage other players in the transport sector to electrify their operations.
The plan is that consumers will come to trust the Shoonya mark and make their business decisions based on it. Clients who cannot yet afford to switch to electric vehicles will get satisfaction from doing something to help combat environmental pollution.
Shoonya will include an online tracking platform that will display information on the effect of the campaign. Enthusiasts will see the number of electric miles driven, savings in carbon emission, etc.
This initiative means delivery companies now have one more method to differentiate themselves and attract customers who care about the environment.
Targeting delivery companies is a sound method to fight greenhouse gases because they represent about 10% of all CO2 emissions in India’s transport companies. If left unchecked, the proportion will double over the next decade.
The organizations behind Shoonya plan to roll out at scale during the Diwali holiday in November. They couldn’t have chosen a better time as yearly deliveries reach the peak during the festive period.
Shoonya has enjoyed lots of support even in its infancy, as many big names in the Indian auto and logistics industries have shown their support. The companies include Mahindra Electric, Zomato, Lightning Logistics, Bluedart, Sun Mobility, Big Basket, Hero Electric, Tata Motors, etc.
According to Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, “We will promote awareness about health, environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles through the Shoonya campaign. I would urge e-commerce companies, auto manufacturers, and logistics fleet operators to acknowledge the opportunity to eliminate pollution from the urban freight sector. I am confident that our dynamic private sector will rise to the challenge of making Shoonya a great success.”
Managing Director of RMI, Clay Stranger, said, “Transitioning to clean transportation is critical as India continues to move forward towards a sustainable and resilient future. Competitive economics and available technology support the full electrification of India’s urban delivery fleets on an accelerated timeline, which will create tailwinds for other market segments to follow. Shoonya is already engaging global e-commerce companies and has the potential to inspire similar campaigns well beyond India.”
Critics of electric vehicles point out that most of the electricity used to charge electric cars comes from plants producing pollutants. However, there is a clear saving in pollution when compared with internal combustion engine vehicles. Besides, as more share of the county’s energy mix becomes clean, the environmental impact of electric cars will become more significant.
India’s central and state governments have started introducing policies that aim to promote electric vehicles in the country. Part of their strategies include incentives to reduce the cost of electric cars to the buyer. They are also courting electric vehicle makers to set up production facilities in India and make it a hub in Asia, in the footsteps of China.
RMI is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization of experts across disciplines working to accelerate the clean energy transition and improve lives. Since its founding in 1982 by Amory Lovins, RMI’s chairman emeritus, it has grown to 300 staff working on four continents with a global reach and reputation.
RMI India is an independent think-and-do tank that works with diverse stakeholders. It takes inspiration from and collaborates with RMI, a 40-year-old nongovernmental organization. RMI India’s mission is to accelerate India’s transition to a clean, prosperous, and inclusive energy future.