Smart Transport

Decarbonisation primary driver of transport investment and strategy, according to new study

Decarbonisation is a primary driver of the transport industry’s investment strategy, according to research published by global law firm DLA Piper.

Canvassing the views of 100 senior executives who have invested in decarbonisation projects across Europe, the report – Driving Change: The Decarbonisation of European Transport – reveals the majority of investors (79%) consider that decarbonisation is a primary driver of their organisation’s investment strategy.

The report – which examines decarbonisation strategies in three key transport sectors: aviation, rail, and shipping –  found that those in the transport sector are hearing loud and clear the need to cut emissions and support decarbonisation.

Large majorities of respondents from aviation (82%), rail (79%) and shipping (85%) agree that decarbonisation is a primary driver of their organisation’s investment strategy.

Aviation – arguably the toughest subsector to decarbonise – stands out as having the highest proportion of respondents saying that they strongly agree that decarbonisation is a primary driver (59%), versus 49% each for rail and shipping.

Respondents are also backing up their words with investment.

Looking ahead, large-scale investment is set to grow even further: 34% of corporates and 66% of investors are looking to allocate at least €1 billion (£840m) to decarbonisation over the next 24 months.

Additionally, focusing on investors only, better access to capital is the top driver for investment in greener technologies over traditional ones, cited by 77% of shipping investors and 71% of aviation investors. This suggests that policy initiatives such as the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation are having the desired effect.

Emission critical

Corporate respondents have big ambitions when it comes to curbing their CO2 emissions. 

More than half say their organisation plans at least a 40% decrease in net carbon emissions by 2030 compared to current levels.

Shipping stands out as the most ambitious subsector, with almost a third (31%) of respondents saying their organisation expects to reduce emissions by 60% or more over this time period.

However, respondents are split as to whether they will meet their carbon reduction targets. Those in the aviation subsector are the most optimistic, with 62% expecting their 2030 carbon reduction targets will be met and only 9% saying that they will be far from meeting them. Rail and shipping respondents are less bullish. Just over half (52%) from these subsectors expect to meet their target.

Fear of lost revenue, from issues such as halted services and lost custom from higher consumer prices, is seen as a major obstacle when it comes to investing in decarbonisation projects and technologies.

This is a particular concern for shipping respondents and is highlighted by nearly three-quarters of them. Revenue loss is also seen as the top investment obstacle by rail respondents (53%).

Martin Nelson-Jones, DLA Piper’s global chair of infrastructure, construction and transport sector, said: “Transport is the bedrock of modern economies, yet also a major source of carbon dioxide emissions.

“Given the current post-COP26 backdrop, decarbonisation must be a primary investment strategy driver for aviation, rail and shipping, as highlighted in our study.

“There are risks - reflecting tight deadlines for major investment decisions, technological change and a complex regulatory environment – but our report highlights that the benefits of decarbonisation are widely recognised.”

Smart Transport National Conference 2023

The UK’s largest two-day conference for senior private and public sector transport leaders and policymakers to work together to transform the UK’s transport network and achieve net zero will take place on 21 & 22 November 2023, The Eastside Rooms, Birmingham.

The high-level conference will bring together senior transport leaders who help shape transport policy and deliver its infrastructure.

It aims to promote best in class initiatives from the private and public sector and bring people together through networking, knowledge transfer and discussion and is seen as UK's largest, trusted and most credible transport conference to facilitate public and private sector collaboration.

The agenda will deliver a speaker faculty of 80+ expert speakers, including senior transport politicians, from the UK and beyond. And we expect an audience of 300+ delegates to attend. 

Speakers come from authorities and organisations such as: The Department for Transport, England’s Economic Heartland, Birmingham City Council, Transport for West Midlands, Midlands Connect, TIER Mobility, CoMoUK, Lambeth Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Enterprise Holdings, FedEx, Worldline and Cornwall Council.

Find out more and book tickets

November 2022 conference video highlights

Book your one or two-day ticket now!

Comment as guest

Login  /  Register


No comments have been made yet.

Related content

Office Address
  • Smart Transport
    Media House
    Lynch Wood
    PE2 6EA
Join the community
  • Register to receive our digital content / products and service / information about our events.
  • Register now.
  • Conference


Welcome to Smart Transport

Welcome to the Smart Transport website, keeping you up-to-date with the latest news, insight and reports from policymakers and thought leaders.

The Smart Transport brand connects policy to solutions by bringing national government and local authority policymakers together with private sector organisations.

Contact Ernest Olaseinde for more information.

© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd
Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA - Registered number 01176085 IPSO regulated logo


Smart Transport members

Smart Transport board members


Please note:
By submitting any material to us you are confirming that the material is your own original work or that you have permission from the copyright owner to use the material and to authorise Bauer Consumer Media to use it as described in this paragraph. You also promise that you have permission from anyone featured or
referred to in the submitted material to it being used by Bauer Consumer Media. If Bauer Consumer Media receives a claim from a copyright owner or a person
featured in any material you have sent us, we will inform that person that you have granted us permission to use the relevant material and you will be responsible for paying any amounts due to the copyright owner or featured person and/or for reimbursing Bauer Consumer Media for any losses it has suffered as a result.