Companies including those in Australia that did not fall into line with sustainability targets either mandated by government or levied in the private sector would not survive according to Scania Global CEO and Director Henrik Henriksson.
At an event in Melbourne, Henriksson forewarned that those companies unwilling to move with current trends in exponential carbon reduction would face consumer backlash that would likely threaten their products and services.
“No one will invest money in your company and no one will like to work for you,” he said.
“This is a matter of survival of the company as well.”
Gathered media heard Henriksson advance the cause of Euro 6 emissions regulations and sustainable biofuel production, an area of which Scania remains heavily invested.
Driving new technologies to provide greener, sustainable transport solutions in the heavy vehicle space looms as part of its grander scheme to shape public discourse and, where appropriate, government legislation.
Last October lawmakers in the European Union voted to reduce, what was referred to as Co2 pollution, emitted from trucks by as much as 20 per cent and by as early as 2025 in a bid to combat the effects of global warming.
Change on a global scale would not be possible said Henriksson unless it was driven by a commercial vehicle manufacturer such as Scania.
The company he said was on a quest.
Its motto that it had been part of the problem but now wanted to be part of the solution was again reiterated.
“I truly believe that we have the conditions to put on that yellow jersey and actually drive this race forward,” he said in a reference more Tour de France rather than gilets-jaunes.
“We can be the ones leading the pack and transforming our industry into something that is more sustainable,” said Henriksson.
The transformation, however, could not be achieved alone.
In order to mobilise the many moving parts of this global change Scania would need to build alliances with its partners.
This means engaging with its customers and its customers’ customers, and working with fuel suppliers, energy suppliers, policy makers, politicians and non government organisations (NGOs).
Scania, with its renewable biofuels offering is well placed to capitalise on any transition period away from fossil fuels to what is widely foreseen as the eventual electrification of the road transport industry.
The challenge in the Australian market according to Henriksson would be companies waiting for electrification to come.
In Australia, with its great distances, the electrification revolution would take even longer.
But until that moment arrived there was an opportunity in the short to medium term for Scania in the local market to lead the way in utilising natural resources and waste to create biofuels.
“We can not just sit and wait for electrification to come to us as a sort of silver bullet for sustainability,” said Henriksson.
Scania, to the contrary, has not.
In a recent trial in Queensland, the company confirmed that it was able to test an engine operating solely on 100 per cent renewable diesel fuel made from biosolids and waste.
At Southern Oil’s Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant in Yarwun, the Scania V8 test engine was part of an assessment on exhaust emissions, fuel efficiency, cost and engine lifetime.
SynBio, an affiliate of Southern Oil recently took advantage of an Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund from the Queensland Government which itself has hopes to turn biodiesel production into a billion dollar industry.
Bioethanol made from the waste water yielded from sugar cane production was working already in places like Brazil where it was being used as a viable alternative to diesel.
According to Henriksson biofuels was the solution for the here and now and that there was more potential in hybrid technologies, as a range extender for electric vehicles, than what had first been anticipated.
Although bioethanol derived from waste promised to reduce Co2 on commercial vehicles by up to 90 per cent Henriksson was under no illusion that its uptake would occur independent of government incentives.
The Australian government had not yet adopted Euro 6 emissions regulations on commercial vehicles.
“I think that if you look at the markets that has not introduced Euro 6 now the list is quite short. Especially when it comes to big, industrial, developed countries like Australia,” he said.
“I think it's about showing the benefits of actually doing this transformation.”
Henriksson said emissions were shared globally and that there was a responsibility we needed to take as global citizens.
“What makes Australia so unique that you can stay behind?”
“The rest of the world is moving ahead and why should you stay behind?”
“There is also a global responsibility as a citizen of this planet,” said Henriksson.
France is currently under law suit for failing to repeatedly meet its targets under the Paris Climate Agreement.
It is not the only one of the 196 governments that agreed on a rulebook to the 2015 Paris Agreement to have failed to reduce its carbon emissions.
Germany, a country responsible for the sixth biggest carbon emissions in the world according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency was also going backwards in meeting its targets according to its Environment Minister Svenja Schulze.
India was the only country among the five emissions giants - China, United States, Russia, Japan – on course to meet the political target of below 2’c compatibility with pre-Industrial levels by the end of this century.
On a global scale biofuels afforded Scania, with the bigger picture in mind, the opportunity to certify its sustainability across the whole supply chain.
In regard to applying the same lens on the wider industry Henriksson speculated as to why the same kind of scrutiny was not being applied to oil coming from Saudi Arabia and Norway.
“We’re trying to make sure that everything is sustainable from well to wheel,” said Henriksson.
“I mean when you get up and running and you have a supply system, the cost of this fuel to be produced in many parts of the world when it comes to energy contents is cheaper than the fossil. The Co2 reduction is usually 90 per cent to 95 per cent.”
In Australia nearly 90 per cent of Scania vehicles sold, despite lack of government incentives, were equipped with Euro 6 technology.
“If you're not following the latest technology level on the emission you miss out on a lot of other goodies not coming through to the market,” said Henriksson.
“It's giving the best fuel efficiency, it's giving the best total operating economy. But it's also that different technology platforms are linked to Euro 6 and I think that's not only for Scania. If you're not following the latest technology level on the emission you miss out on a lot of other goodies not coming through to the market. I think that is, and I think that's what the customers are seeing.”
(Image: Henrik Henriksson Scania Global CEO and President).