Green Logistics: Strategies for Eco-Friendly Shipping
Research from IBM proves 57% of consumers would be willing to change their eCommerce shopping habits in an effort to reduce waste and be more eco-friendly. If over half your customers are asking for something – a change that helps protect the environment – it’s time to listen. Let’s explore a few green logistics’ strategies proven to enable more eco-friendly shipping practices.
What Is Green Logistics?
Green logistics is a new way of looking at the supply chain, with an eye on sustainability. A green logistics’ process includes focus on reducing the carbon footprint through responsible waste and by-product disposal, recycling, recycled or sustainable packaging, and reduced energy consumption, among other processes. Green logistics became a priority when the United States discovered transportation was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
A green supply chain includes first, middle and last-mile logistics, each requiring careful consideration. Not adopting green logistics might eventually be a costly choice, as more consumers expect it and as the prices of fuel and energy become higher. Let’s explore a few ways enterprises are implementing a green logistics strategy and enabling more eco-friendly shipping practices.
1. Get closer to the customer with pop-up warehouses.
Last-mile logistics is getting more expensive, leaving many companies looking for sustainable and green ways to get your delivery to you as quickly and inexpensively as possible. One way businesses are doing this is through the use of a pop-up shipping warehouse. The cost of renting a small warehouse, near your customer base, will cut down on shipping costs for both the company and the consumer. This means using less fuel for deliveries than if the packages had been shipped from a more centrally located warehousing facility.
2. Use alternative vehicle or fuel technologies.
Most delivery trucks use diesel fuel, which some consider to be the most cost effective option, but there are other options. Many are starting to use biofuel, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. There are also new eco-friendly sea and train shipping options, and hybrid or electric delivery vehicle options for your fleet. You don’t need to invest to switch out your entire fleet of delivery vehicles right away. As each wears out, replace it with a more eco-friendly option, and plan in the long term for a more energy efficient fleet.
3. Optimize on-site resources, planning, and execution.
Bridging the gap between warehouses and transportation is a great place to start implementing a green logistics’ strategy. The speed and fluidity with which your boxes move through your yard or factory will determine how much energy and fuel you consume. Inefficient processes waste time and money, and are often unsafe for workers. Take time to streamline your on-site resources, and execute an eco-friendly shipping program to save both you and your customer money. Doing so saves the earth as well.
4. Leverage a route-planning system.
The longer your drivers are on the road, the more fuel and energy they use. Make use of technology to start route-planning, to ensure your deliveries are getting out as quickly as possible, and the route is as efficient as possible. There are many free applications available to help you with your route planning. You can also invest in software that will automatically keep you up to date on the best routes, any road closures or construction, or bad traffic areas.
5. Eliminate unnecessary trips.
Eliminating unnecessary trips falls under the heading of a good route planning system. By “batching” packages going to similar areas, you make it possible to streamline the entire route, and make it easier on your drivers who won’t need to back-track or stop to look up directions that might take them across town. Equip your trucks with trustworthy and updated navigation or GPS systems to ensure drivers aren’t lost in unfamiliar areas.
Sustainable and eco-friendly shipping practices are an important element of every business, and those who don’t take them seriously will eventually take a blow to their reputation, or find themselves paying hefty fines and fees. Don’t wait until you are forced to adopt these practices. According to the EPA, the transportation sector in the United States is responsible for:
· Over 50% of NOx total emissions inventory
· Over 30% of VOCs emissions
· Over 20% of PM emissions
It’s only a matter of time until all businesses are going to be held responsible for bringing down these numbers. Adopt an eco-friendly shipping and logistics option today, and reduce costs and your company’s carbon footprint on our earth.