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Sustainability in Air Freight

Rethinking the business of our industry for a carbon-neutral tomorrow.

As sustainability becomes more and more critical, businesses and logistics suppliers are looking for ways to grow their economic base and make a positive social impact with their ecological footprint. With air freight representing around 2% of all global greenhouse emissions which equal the total annual emission share of Germany. 

Following our pioneer project, we are now starting a global green network

Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker

As a company emphasizing sustainability leadership, sustainability is at the core of how we do business – day in and day out, from city to city, country to country. Beyond delivering shipments and managing supply chains when and where needed, we aim to revolutionize the air freight industry by helping our customers and transportation partners manage their sustainability efforts as well.

  • Customers can choose Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for their air transport to anywhere in the world and independent of the type of aircraft or airline used. Contact us today to start decarbonising your operations.
  • Via virtual allocation of the biofuel, it is possible to avoid 100 percent of CO2 emissions.
  • Today, we are working with several of the world’s major cargo and passenger airlines as they look to invest in more efficient aircraft to lower emissions and minimize the overall environmental impact. At the same time, we are helping them meet customer’s ever-demanding transportation needs. 
  • We are also developing fully electric utility drones capable of carrying a 200 kg (~440 lbs) payload up to 40 km (~25 miles) that considers both purpose and sustainability in its design. This crewless aircraft is designed to meet modern logistical needs with an autonomous, future-focused product. 
  • Through our eSchenker and connect 4.0 online platforms, we are significantly reducing the amount of paperwork necessary, from shipment details to Customs forms. 
  • We are an active member of the Sustainable Air Freight Alliance (SAFA) and the WEF platform Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition, buyer-supplier collaboration formats between shippers, freight forwarders, and air freight carriers to track and reduce carbon emissions from air freight and promote low carbon freight transport. 

With economic growth and global trade expected to double freight-related emissions by 2050, we will continue to work with our customers and transportation partners to ensure their ambitious carbon commitments become a reality. 


A real alternative to fossil fuels, SAF is produced from waste materials, such as those derived from used cooking and vegetable oils, landfill, municipal waste, crop waste, and more. More critical, SAF can have up to 80% fewer Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions than conventional kerosene fuels resulting in CO2e emission reductions and cleaner air. 


In November 2020, DB Schenker partnered with Lufthansa Cargo and flew the world’s first CO2 neutral all-cargo flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Shanghai, China, and back to Frankfurt. DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo have decided to continue their fossil-free freighter flights between Frankfurt (FRA) and Shanghai (PVG). The weekly carbon neutral freighter has been running since March 2021 until at least October 2022 

  • Lufthansa Cargo and DB Schenker have saved 31,000 tons of CO2e since starting their cooperation end of 2020 
  • The weekly flight rotation continues to be the world’s only regular full charter fully covered by SAF 

Get in touch with us! DB Schenker will provide its expertise in transport decarbonation and offer you a consultancy including: 

  • Calculate your existing carbon footprint with our partner EcoTransIT and our advanced carbon report 
  • Based on your company’s carbon reduction objective (e.g Carbon Neutral by 2040) we will design a trajectory to achieve those 
  • Propose the most suitable options and model for your green operations 
  • SAF is available on all trade lanes with any carrier following the Book & Claim principle 
  • Carbon X: You choose your % of decarbonation for all your shipments or only selected lanes 
  • ​​​​​​​Carbon Neutral: 80% CO2e reduction with SAF +20% CO2e offsetting compensation with Atmosfair 
  • Carbon Zero: 100% CO2e reduction with SAF
  • ​​​​​​​Buy&Sell: A fuel purchase with CO2e saving certified but without detailed shipment carbon report 
  • For Carbon X, Neutral & Zero you get a detailed carbon report at shipment level showing your SAF utilisation 
  • SAF is free of palm oil or derivatives (PFAD)  
  • ILUC Not Relevant: No Indirect Land Use Change. This means that there was no land competition to produce SAF.  
  • ISCC or RSB certification 
  • EU RED II Annex 9 Compliant 
  • No double counting of emissions reduction 
  • DB Schenker will issue you a certificate with SAF utilisation, SAF efficiency % CO2e reduction and all above guarantees. The whole process is verified and audited by TÜV SÜD, external auditing company with expertise in renewable energy  
DB Schenker export freight is loaded onto an aircraft in Frankfurt en route to Hong Kong

Fueling the future

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Lufthansa cargo plane with DB Schenker logo on the tarmac

Gaining further altitude

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One of the SAF covered freighter flights during push-back in Shanghai.

Growing alliance for the environment

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Plane on the runway

DB Schenker, Lufthansa Cargo and Nokia join forces

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Lufthansa Cargo freighter with special design

Joint commitment

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Lufthansa Cargo Plane on the tarmac

Countdown to zero

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