Signs against backdrop of trees. Signage states:

Health effects of air pollution

Invitation to tender: organisation to set up and run an urban freight trade association

We are looking for an organisation or individual to set up and manage a trade association for businesses involved in the sustainable urban freight sector.

Submission deadline: 5pm Friday 19th July 2024

About Impact on Urban Health

The places that we grow up, live and work impact how healthy we are. Urban areas, like inner-city London, have some of the most extreme health outcomes. Alongside their vibrancy and diversity sit stark health inequalities.

At Impact on Urban Health, we want to change this. We believe that we can remove obstacles to good health, by making urban areas healthier places for everyone to live.

The London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark are our home. They are some of the most diverse areas in the world. It is here that we invest, test, and build our understanding of how cities can be shaped to support better health. We’re focused on a few complex health issues that disproportionately impact people living in cities, and we work with local, national and international organisations, groups and individuals to tackle these.

Our place is like so many others. So, we share our insight, evidence and practical learning to improve health in cities around the world. Impact on Urban Health is a part of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation.

About the Health effects of air pollution

The Health effects of air pollution programme explores how people’s health is affected by poor air quality and tests and scales solutions to reduce its harmful impact.

Freight, the movement of goods and services, is a significant source of air pollution in cities. It contributes over a third of transport emissions and is responsible for a disproportionate share of harmful pollutants in the air we breathe, including almost 20% of nitric oxide (NOX) emissions in London. The number of vans on our streets is increasing as is freight’s proportion of total transport emissions. Our goal is to drastically reduce the number of polluting freight miles driven in Lambeth and Southwark.

In our freight strand, over the past three years, we have funded research and supported organisations to promote cargo bike adoption, switch from polluting vehicles [PDF], consolidate deliveries and develop ideas for addressing the challenges of urban freight [PDF], among many other initiatives. We are embarking on a new phase for our freight work that will enable us to play an active role in bringing businesses together to accelerate the transition to low and no emission vehicles.

Robin Minchom

Submit your tender

Please send your proposal to Robin Minchom (Portfolio Manager) by 5pm on Friday July 19th 2024.

Setting up an urban freight trade association

We have committed to seed-funding a trade association specifically focused on growing and developing the clean urban freight sector. We are looking for an organisation to set it up, develop a business model that will ensure financial independence and long-term sustainability, and to run it.

Our funding is intended to subsidise the organisation’s costs until it can be financially independent and sustained through its own revenues, i.e. from membership fees.

Context and market fit

Industry trade associations already exist in the logistics sector and they include Logistics UK, Rail Freight Group, the Road Haulage Association and the Institute of Couriers. There are also more targeted local forums working on urban freight, including TfL’s LoCity and London Freight Quality Partnership.

We see an opportunity for an association that caters specifically to urban freight that would build relationships and work with the other associations in the sector. The urban leg of a delivery is the most expensive and polluting part of its journey, but there are new approaches and technologies that could help alleviate both of those pressures, if scaled appropriately and enabled by the regulatory environment.

Last year, we commissioned research to assess the demand for such an association. The research consisted of 20 structured interviews with businesses and three workshops, and it concluded that there was the appetite for a dedicated urban freight trade association. The commissioned research is available on request. The findings from the research have been supported by conversations that we have had with international and national businesses.

What we’re hoping to achieve

Our objective is to reduce air pollution emissions from the freight sector. We believe that by bringing together businesses that are committed to decarbonisation, we can help accelerate the transition to cleaner, safer freight vehicles through greater collaboration and collective lobbying.

Although the decarbonisation of logistics is generally a win for clean air, there are a range of associated actions that impact on air quality differently. So, in addition to the electrification of fleets, we also want to create a space for businesses to discuss and scale other air pollution reduction measures (e.g. relating to brake and tyre wear and vehicle weight). Whereas freight businesses have already begun to reduce their carbon emissions, reducing air pollution from freight is in relatively early stages. But it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses due to investor pressure and incoming regulation.

It is important to us that good employment practice is retained as a key objective of the association.

Association’s activities

From our research, we believe that the most valuable activities for a trade association on freight would include:

  • Networking and knowledge sharing
  • Lobbying and policy work
  • Commissioning research

During our research, operators highlighted challenges for sustainable urban freight, including:

  • Fleet reliability and sourcing parts
  • Finding space for consolidation / storage
  • Insurance – not comprehensive or affordable
  • Recruitment

It’s key to note that, given the prevalence of other spaces for discussing the challenges of freight, the businesses involved expressed clearly that for this association to be successful, it must not be a “talking shop” and must work towards “clear, deliverable actions” from the outset. The association will need to be explicit about the value that it brings to the sector and the organisation that is selected to lead this work will be instrumental in developing this.

Association’s structure and composition

We believe that a trade association is the most appropriate structure to achieve the mission we have set out. However, we are open to other types of business coalitions, as long as they also offer a clear path to financial independence and a way to deliver on the mission.

To create the most financially viable association, with the greatest potential for impact, the organisation should cater both to operators with zero-emission fleets and those that have ICE and zero-emission vehicles. To help establish its credibility, we think it will be beneficial that larger organisations are engaged early, for example as founding members, but it’s important that independent and smaller operators are also effectively represented by this organisation.

The association should be national in focus to be able to include businesses working in urban areas across the country.

Impact on Urban Health’s involvement

As the seed-funder of this work, and given our focus and expertise on the sector, we will play an active role in the setup of the association and in its early stages, including in defining its objectives and approving founding members.

We recognise that for a business coalition to be successful and have longevity, it will ultimately need to be driven by the demands of the businesses within it. As such, we would expect to play a less active role from the second year. The risk that we need to mitigate is that the association deviates from its original mission, so it’s essential that the mission and certain principles are enshrined in its legal documents, including its objectives.

The role of the selected organisation

This is an exciting opportunity for an organisation to work at the intersection of business, climate, and health, and deliver lasting impact. We are looking for a values-aligned organisation with a track record of success to bring this idea to life and steward its future.

The chosen organisation will be responsible for the legal and administrative work necessary for establishing and running an association. It will need the business development expertise to set it up for long-term sustainability. But ultimately, the success of this project will depend on the organisation’s ability to bring businesses together to act collaboratively on shared goals for the public good.

The exact activities that the organisation will carry out are not set in stone, but they will include (though not limited to):

  • Refine the purpose of the association (working with IoUH)
  • Engage with founding members
  • Legal set up
  • Define governance structure
  • Ongoing administration of association
  • Develop a growth plan and a path to self-sufficiency
  • Policy and advocacy work
  • Membership engagement

We are clear about the impact we want this work to have and there are certain essential elements, but we are flexible about the precise approach we take.

Budgets and timelines

There is a maximum budget of £220,000 including VAT available to fund all the activities for this work.

The funding can be used for up to 24 months and is intended to cover the planning and set up of the association and subsidise the cost of running it initially. The association should then be financially independent and supported through internal revenue streams (for example, membership fees). We would like the association to reach financial independence as soon as possible, so please include in your project plan your preferred route to this stage that may take less than 24 months.

Submitting a tender

Please send your proposal to Robin Minchom (Portfolio Manager) at by 5pm on Friday July 19th 2024. Please keep your proposal to a maximum of 8 pages. We will then invite shortlisted applicants for a 45-minute interview during the week commencing July 29th. Feel free to reach out to Robin Minchom before the deadline if you have any questions.

Your proposal should include the following

  • Overview of the organisation and the team who’ll work directly on the project, and why you would like to deliver it
  • Your approach to setting up trade associations or coalitions of businesses
  • Evidence of relevant experience of successfully bringing businesses together and the positive outcomes that has achieved
  • Your proposed approach to meet the requirements of this brief, with a proposed outline project plan, including path to self-sufficiency
  • Indicative budget, including a clear breakdown of costs (including number of days, day rates and VAT if applicable) to fulfil the requirements of this role

There are specific challenges we are conscious of for this project, and it would be good in your proposal, either in the project plan or previous experiences if you address:

  • How to manage the interests of both large and small businesses
  • How to avoid a race-to-the-bottom whereby the least ambitious businesses stymie the potential activities
  • How to create the value-add that businesses are happy to pay for in the context of budget tightening
  • How to encourage collaboration and identify common goals for competing businesses

The proposals will be assessed, based on the following weighting:

Assessment criteria Weighting
Proposed project plan 40%
Relevant experience and associated outcomes & expertise of team 30%
Budget / value for money 30%
Robin Minchom

Submit your tender

Please send your proposal to Robin Minchom (Portfolio Manager) by 5pm on Friday July 19th 2024.