By Andrew Taylor

GLASGOW is at the front of the pack of sustainable cities. Named Global Green City for 2020, actions to tackle the climate crisis are becoming ever more impactful. Six months on from the hosting of COP26, initiatives such as introducing city centre Low Emission Zones and making the Spaces for People schemes permanent will mean real change for the city. An independent review into the restriction of traffic to George Square, for example, has high-lighted the long-term sustainability and active travel benefits and will mark a real change in how we move in and around Glasgow.

This change, coupled with the increase in home deliveries in recent years, spurred by e-commerce and the coronavirus pandemic, means using bikes for business makes a lot of sense. Across Scotland, cargo-bike deliveries are on the rise as an adapted means of transport to bypass the problem of accessibility and address the problem of sustainability in city centres.

A new report published by climate charity Possible, based on research conducted by the Active Travel Academy, shows that cargo bike deliveries are a viable alternative to van deliveries.

The report found the service performed by cargo bike to be an average of 1.61 times faster than the one performed by van. Moreover, in the 98 days of work sampled, there was a saving of a total of 3,896 Kg of CO2 and more than 5.5 kg of NOx, showing that cargo bikes can serve their customers better than a van while removing environmental damage and air pollution.

Cargo bikes can also bypass heavy traffic and can often enter the place of delivery instead of parking illegally, a frequent problem with vans. According to a study carried out by the Municipality of Amsterdam, the average charging and unloading time of a van or delivery truck is 12 minutes. Interestingly, the same amount of merchandise can be unloaded from a cargo bike in three minutes.

Businesses face so many challenges in being both economically and environmentally sustainable. Convenience still reigns for the consumer and the buying public expect deliveries in the shortest possible time but meeting this demand has historically come with a cost to the climate. With cargo bike delivery that needn’t be the case.

Having spent the last year growing Velo-City Deliveries to deliver across Glasgow using e-cargo bikes, I have seen how many businesses are committed to growth for good.

Companies such as The Good Coffee Cartel, Bare Bones Chocolate and The Good Spirits Company are amongst many to have sustainability at the core of their operations from employee care to reusable packaging and cargo bike delivery is now a big part of that. Others are beginning their exploration into sustainable goals.

No matter where they are on the journey, the goal is to help businesses transition to a greener, cleaner delivery model. We and our partner companies aim to help to realise Glasgow’s potential and be a part of moving the city on to truly become the "dear green place".

Andrew Taylor is founder and rider of Velo-City Deliveries