Learn everything about sustainable logistics, its significance to your business and the world, and how to utilize it effectively.
Published 13 Feb 2023
Sustainable logistics, also known as green logistics, refers to the various actions taken to minimize the environmental impact of companies in the supply chain, from processing raw materials to delivering the final product to the consumer.
The concept was developed in the early 1990s as social awareness about ecological problems, particularly global warming, started to grow. Today, more and more companies in different sectors are adopting better logistical measures aimed toward sustainability.
Transport, the top requirement in logistics, is one of the biggest causes of carbon dioxide emissions. But it isn’t the only driving force of greenhouse gas production in this industry. Because the environmental consequences are much too grave for everyone if left unchecked, sustainable logistics and supply chain management should be a top priority.
3 Pillars of Sustainability
Sustainability is defined as development that provides the needs of the people today while making sure people’s needs in the future are also ensured. It has three pillars:
An activity is considered truly sustainable when all three elements are taken into consideration and equally advocated.
The aforementioned goals can only be achieved by fully understanding the various sustainable logistics practices. Different companies may have specific processes, but most follow these basic steps:
The path to sustainable logistics and supply chain management is complex. The steps mentioned above are a continuous cycle, often repeated for improvements and aimed at more ambitious goals.
Finding a good balance between speed, cost, and reliability, along with environmental and societal values, can be challenging. But some large corporations have started working on this endeavor by integrating the systems listed below:
Data should be at the heart of your operations. Digitizing this and sharing the information with people you work with ensures efficiency and promotes transparency.
Empower your team with SafetyCulture to perform checks, train staff, report issues, and automate tasks with our digital platform.
Choosing a better fuel source or upgrading to new models may cost a lot at first. But aside from compliance, you will soon reap the gains of your investment.
This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint across the supply chain. Since everything is near, you can minimize your transportation requirements.
Although many consider sustainability to be more important than profitability, there are some issues that business owners and managers fear, such as:
Then again, it is easier to address these issues through education, dialogue, and proper planning.
Definitely. Implementing business sustainability, as detailed above, can be done on a small scale. Using recyclable packaging, hiring bike messengers, and going paperless are simple measures that greatly reduce carbon footprint.
Transport is integral in logistics. Without this, the process fails. Because transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuels, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States has numerous guidelines set to ensure sustainability.
To be considered sustainable, transport vehicles for logistics should meet the following criteria:
Check the EPA’s guide to learn more about green vehicles.
The right time to start sustainable logistics practices in your company is right now. No one can say that the path to sustainability is easy—it will take a whole lot of effort and sacrifice on your part. But you will feel more confident in this endeavor when you have a partner that is as committed to the cause as you are. This is where SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) can assist you.
Eunice Arcilla Caburao
Eunice is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. A registered nurse, theater stage manager, Ultimate Frisbee athlete, and mother, Eunice has written a multitude of topics for over a decade now.
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