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Zero-emission e-commerce and freight delivery and return choices by retailers, consumers and local authorities

To support changing retailers and customers’ behaviours towards zero-emission freight delivery and return choices, the research actions will have to develop co-created actions able to increase transparency and consumers’ awareness of greenhouse gas emissions and other impacts (considering also socio-economic ones) of e-commerce, deliveries and returns.


They will have also to propose zero-emission delivery solutions and develop supporting incentive schemes to encourage customers to make sustainable choices, still in accordance with their preferences and in combination with competitive and sustainable retail value propositions.

The research actions will have to take into account and build on existing methods and standards to compare the emission in the transport value chain of B2C e-commerce, and to be developed in line with the Commission’s initiative on EU framework for harmonised measurement of transport and logistics emissions – ‘CountEmissions EU’[1].

Proposals will have to address all of the following points:

  • Taking stock of existing studies, assess which conditions would make zero-emission delivery and return options attractive to consumers and which motivations and options would incentivise consumers to change their behaviour towards greener choices. Integrate an intersectional analysis of consumers’ gender, age, and socioeconomic status to account better for the customers’ variety of expectations and motivations and develop solutions which cater for all social groups.
  • Co-designing with and engaging consumers and retailers, and taking into account the assessed motivations and incentives, develop a set of zero-emission delivery and return options, which are at least comparable with existing delivery offering and account for the different consumer groups’ needs and motivations to change their behaviour. Identify which options would be more suitable to the customers’ group or groups more motivated to change their behaviours and act as frontrunners, thus leading to a more rapid adoption.
  • Actively involve consumers (e.g. through consumer organisations) and retailers in the development of guidelines and best practices for retailers to raise awareness and communicate transparently and in an understandable way on the greenhouse gas emission footprint of deliveries and returns’ modes and options.
  • Define scalable and generic processes and requirements for the retailers to adopt the zero-emission logistics processes in practice.
  • Develop and analyse different scenarios that implement measures towards both more transparent communication and implementation of cleaner and zero-emission e-commerce last mile deliveries to assess reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
  • Test with selected retailers and representative customers, and in collaboration with relevant local authorities, the proposed guidelines to visualise the advanced information on emissions and the zero-emission delivery and return options towards consumers. Assess their attractiveness to consumers, the potential impact on consumers’ behaviours (including e.g. same-day delivery, returns and physical store pick up options) and their possible buy-in into more sustainable offering. In an iterative process develop and implement recommendations for improvement.
  • Demonstrate solutions and propose recommendations to support and incentivise the uptake of greener choices by consumers and retailers.
  • Define indicators to measure and evaluate the successful communication and the implementation by the retailers as well as the adoption by the consumers of zero-emission delivery and return options.
  • Develop recommendations and a toolset with and for local authorities to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission delivery and return options and choices.
  • Strengthen the coordination and collaboration between e-commerce companies, industrial logistics stakeholders and cities, companies, research and civil society, in Europe and internationally, to give input to the project as well as disseminate and exploit results.
  • Cooperation with the network of cities CIVITAS[2] should be planned as appropriate.

If projects use satellite-based earth observation, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, beneficiaries are expected to clearly describe if and how the use of Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS are incorporated in the proposed solutions. In addition, if the activities proposed involve the use and/or development of AI-based systems and/or techniques, the technical and social robustness of the proposed systems has to be described in the proposal.

Convocatoria Activa StartUps


Safe, Resilient Transport and Smart Mobility services for passengers and goods (2023/24)

This Destination includes activities addressing safe and smart mobility services for passengers and goods.

Europe needs to manage the transformation of supply-based transport into safe, resilient and sustainable transport and demand-driven, smart mobility services for passengers and goods. Suitable research and innovation will enable significant safety, environmental, economic and social benefits by reducing accidents caused by human error, decreasing traffic congestion, reducing energy consumption and emissions of vehicles, increasing efficiency and productivity of freight transport operations. To succeed in this transformation, Europe’s ageing (and not always sustainable) transport infrastructure needs to be prepared for enabling cleaner and smarter operations.

Europe needs also to maintain a high-level of transport safety for its citizens. Resilience should be built in the transport systems to prevent, mitigate and recover from disruptions. Research and innovation will underpin the three safety pillars: technologies, regulations and human factors.

This Destination contributes to the following Strategic Plan’s Key Strategic Orientations (KSO):

  • C: Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction and production systems;
  • A: Promoting an open strategic autonomy[[ ‘Open strategic autonomy’ refers to the term ‘strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy’, as reflected in the conclusions of the European Council 1 – 2 October 2020.]] by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains to accelerate and steer the digital and green transitions through human-centred technologies and innovations.

It covers the following impact areas:

  • Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people;
  • Smart and sustainable transport.

The expected impact, in line with the Strategic Plan, is to contribute to “Safe, seamless, smart, inclusive, resilient and sustainable mobility systems for people and goods thanks to user-centric technologies and services including digital technologies and advanced satellite navigation services”, notably through:

  • Accelerating the implementation of innovative connected, cooperative and automated mobility (CCAM) technologies and systems for passengers and goods (more detailed information below).
  • Further developing a multimodal transport system through sustainable and smart long-haul and urban freight transport and logistics, upgraded and resilient physical and digital infrastructures for smarter vehicles and operations, for optimised system-wide network efficiency (more detailed information below).
  • Drastically decreasing the number of transport accidents, incidents and fatalities towards the EU’s long-term goal of moving close to zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2050 even in road transportation (Vision Zero) and increase the resilience of transport systems (more detailed information below).

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