Trend watch: Sustainability in Logistics
Whether you’re talking about finding ways to keep business running efficiently or protecting the environment, the concepts of sustainability and “being green” already have a stronger focus in 2021, as we predicted in our trends for 2021 blog.
The biggest area we see this follows the long-popular phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Reduction of wasted resources saves money, saves time, and is better for the environment.
For an industry that relies on fuel to function, the logistics industry can’t completely go fuel-free. But many efforts have been made to reduce fuel consumption. Some measures are a direct attempt, other measures have the side effect of less fuel being used. Some of the measures include:
- Better, more-fuel efficient vehicles being used in fleets, including better vehicle maintenance reduces costs.
- Regional warehousing is intended to make deliveries quicker, but also has the effect of burning less fuel to get to and from the warehouses.
- Some companies are starting to use vehicles that use alternative fuel sources.
- Optimizing inventory management and trip management reduces the number of unnecessary trips.
Reducing the amount of paper, cardboard, and other shipping materials saves money, time, and in the case of using digital supply chain management, makes logistics more accurate.
- Inventory management and supply chain management is increasingly done using digital tools, instead of paper tracking.
- More companies are using compostable and recycled packaging and shipping material.
- Shipping materials like pallets can be reused or repurposed.
Consuming less energy
Using less energy always saves money and is better for the environment. Logistics providers must make sure they are not sacrificing efficiency when reducing energy consumption. Measures such as making warehouses more energy-friendly through more efficient light fixtures, HVAC systems, and better insulation are becoming more prevalent.
What’s driving the changes?
Why go to all this trouble? We agree with many other industry leaders that three key factors are driving the move towards more sustainability.
- Younger consumers are making it a requirement in their purchasing choices.
- Better profits can be found by reducing waste.
- Companies consider sustainability increasingly part of their corporate social responsibility.
This trend of better sustainability is only going to continue and grow. We hope it leads to more innovation and ways that we as an industry can serve our customers even better.