Carbon footprint reduction must be part of the mindset

The impact we have on the climate and above all, the possibilities we have to reduce it, are dominating themes of our times. Every activity has an effect, including activities that are not so obvious. We can all relate to the fact that the products and goods that we use as we go about our daily business require resources to manufacture and to dispose of. However, we rarely think about the transportation of such products and goods. For example, when tomatoes are transported from a commercial tomato grower in Spain, to the local shop, and finally to our kitchen table at home.

Carbon footprint is a measure of climate impact in terms of how much carbon dioxide is generated by an activity. Thus, a carbon footprint shows the extent to which different activities and goods have an impact on the climate, and in this way, the impact on the climate of different activities and goods can be compared. In other words, there is a direct comparison between our choices, activities and impact on the climate. It is obvious that if we drive rather than cycle to the shops, we generate a larger carbon footprint.

Ports are (or can be) pivotal locations for countless transport corridors, which can be used to transport goods - for example, if we take our earlier example - the transport of tomatoes from southern Spain to a kitchen table in Denmark. In that regard, the Port of Hirtshals works on the understanding that awareness may create the changes that will reduce the general climate impact - the carbon footprint. Multimodal transport solutions are the way forward, and if the right combination of modes of transport is chosen, via the right geographic locations and using the shortest possible distances, climate impact can be reduced.

Multimodal transport solutions via direct corridors and logically localised pivot locations, and collaborations between ports, shipping companies, railway operators and hauliers, utilising the unique advantages of each of their individual modes of transport, can also reduce transport's overall carbon footprint.

A product, company or activity's carbon footprint is the universal expression of their total impact on the environment.

Looking at transport as an activity, its carbon footprint includes the total climate impact associated with the transportation of one tonne of a product from the producer to the consumer. The carbon footprint for our foodstuffs is calculated similarly. The production, transport and preparation of foodstuffs consumes resources and thus different goods have different carbon footprints. For example, the carbon footprint of one tonne of vegetables transported from South America will be greater than the carbon footprint of one tonne of vegetables grown at a local market garden.