How to improve supply chain sustainability

Research published by ALICE (Alliance for Logistics Innovation Through Collaboration in Europe) states that freight transport accounts for roughly 39% of transport CO2 emissions and around 8% of CO2 emissions worldwide.

With research like this being reported, many within the transport and logistics industries are becoming more conscious of the scale at which the sector contributes to environmental damage and are seeking practical alternatives to their current practices in the interests of creating a more sustainable supply chain.

The benefits achieved through green logistics and supply chain management are far reaching, not only reducing environmental damage, but also opening businesses up to new partnerships with organisations that prioritise working with sustainability focused companies.

In this article, we discuss tips for improving supply chain sustainability and reducing environmental damage.

Green Logistics and Supply Chain Management Tips

Long Term Goal Planning

Updating legacy processes and setting long term goals involves comprehensive planning and complete clarity on exactly what it is you hope to achieve overall with a new sustainability strategy.

Comprehensive planning and pinning down the finer details of the changes you want to make will help you split a complex, lengthy strategy into results based, actionable tasks that are much easier to put in place and manage.

Optimise Driver Performance

Conducting driver performance analysis will show you opportunities for small changes that can significantly improve efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of your business.

For example, you might learn that the routes your haulage drivers are taking to their destinations could be optimised, an action you might put in place to combat this is:

Taking extra care to plan the most fuel-efficient routes for your drivers, avoiding as many road works and unnecessary stops possible.

Correct tyre pressure, gear selection and breaking techniques can also impact on fuel consumption so it’s important that haulage drivers are aware of the most fuel-efficient driving methods.

Though changes like these might seem small on their own, overall, they can have a significant impact on your contribution to carbon emissions.

Switch to Plastic-Free Packaging

Replacing your current packing materials with packaging made from sustainable sources is one of the more straightforward changes you can make to improve on supply chain sustainability, and new alternative packaging materials are emerging onto the market every day as plastic waste reduction becomes a more prominent focus.

Investigate the sustainability of the packaging currently being used and source replacements that can be reused or recycled or are made using sustainable materials.

It’s also worth exploring how you can reduce the amount of packaging that each delivery requires so that your overall waste production is minimised.

Get Staff Buy-In

Your staff’s support is key to the success of any strategy and investing in their education is a sure-fire way to achieve this.

Make sure your team understands why improving supply chain sustainability is necessary, what they can expect to be different and the vital part they all play in the overall success of the sustainability strategy.

Invest in Alternative Fuel and Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Upgrading old trucks to more eco-friendly models such as electric or hybrid vehicles will reduce the level of carbon emissions your fleet produces and is a step in the right direction towards green logistics.

You should also consider powering your distribution centre with renewable energy sources like solar power, as opposed to using traditional fossil fuel energy.

Go Digital

Digital transformation in transport and logistics is inevitable, and its onset has only sped up as a result of the pandemic.

Cloud logistics solutions in particular can assist in improving efficiencies across a variety of areas. By integrating each of your different logistics system into one central platform you can achieve full visibility over your entire operation, making it easier to identify opportunities for improvements or wasteful activities that can be removed.

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