An article in the World Resources Institute carefully summarizes all the key points from the 2023 Climate Change report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The current global temperature of 1.1°C has had, and will continue to have, drastic effects on environmental conditions. At the moment, the IPCC report indicates that there is a great chance the global temperature will continue to increase within the next few decades. The logistics industry plays quite a pivotal role in this situation for multiple reasons. There are many things that companies can do in order to heal and fix all the damage that has been inflicted on the world, but it is a matter of everyone working together in order to aim for a better future with green solutions.
Why is Sustainable Development Important?
Let’s start the journey off with a simple, yet powerful, quote by Gro Harlem Brundtland: “Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It goes without saying that we live in a world where the effects of global warming and carbon emissions are more prominent than ever. Whether a person lives through the cold and unforgivingly icy winters of Siberia, or if they live amongst the scorching golden sands of the Sahara Desert, the effects of climate change are very much discernible and on the rise.
Furthermore, sustainable development isn’t just about climate change and environmental protection. In addition to the environmental aspect, there is also the social and economic aspect to consider. In all honesty, all 3 factors depend on each other to successfully achieve sustainable development goals. In other words, if all focus was directed towards production levels, gross domestic product (GDP) and economic prosperity, then it would be very easy for the social and environmental factors to be neglected through environmental degradation, since they counteract each other. According to an article by Acciona—a company that aims towards designing a better planet through sustainable and innovative means— “Many of the challenges facing humankind, such as climate change, water scarcity, inequality and hunger, can only be resolved at a global level and by promoting sustainable development: a commitment to social progress, environmental balance and economic growth.” In truth, all of these factors go hand-in-hand.
To put it simply, all parts of the world are suffering from drastic weather conditions, and it isn’t just about the simplistic and preconceived notion of saying that the world is “getting hotter” by the minute. As a matter of fact, that is a very common misconception amongst people. The truth of the matter is that climate change leads to multiple irregularities within weather conditions. Winter days have become even colder, and summer days have become even hotter. This is a pattern that can be observed from any part of the world.
The Impact of the Logistics Industry on the Environment
In the book Logistics & Supply Chain Management, Martin Christopher defines logistics as, “managing an organization’s inventory, transportation of goods, procurement, and information flow through its marketing channels for increasing revenues.” In the world of logistics, the topic of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases is spoken about quite frequently. The logistics industry has quite a large carbon footprint when considering all the emissions from road, air and sea freight. Carbon Care, a company focussed on ensuring that the carbon emissions in the logistics industry remain transparent for the public, states the following: “Today, the transport and logistics sector contributes around 24% of global CO2 emissions. By 2050, the European Environment Agency expects global logistics to account for up to 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions if strong and effective actions are not taken.” The truth is that the nature of the logistics sector is inherently based on the concept that carbon emissions exist. Vehicles release harmful carbon particles when fuel is burned, and this contributes to global warming. We need to change the way how we are working to today by using greener solutions.
So here is the million-dollar question: What can be done to mitigate all these harmful effects of global warming and climate change?
No one ever said that the road to a greener and more sustainable future was an easy one. In truth, the road is rocky, and riddled with obstacles.
The good news is that there are many things that you can do as a company and in your company, as well as in your personal day-to-day life. From a philosophical perspective, it is sometimes easy to say that it is not our responsibility when it comes to the minimal green practices of everyday life. “I’m just one person trying to live a greener lifestyle. What effect can I possibly have on the world around me?” In fact, this philosophy is faulty at best. There are millions of people around the world trying to put in the effort to make things better, and if everyone had the mentality that their small actions were useless and had no impact whatsoever, then the future would truly be lost. In terms of making a difference, try and imagine the impact that logistics companies might have on the world if they changed the way they operate. There are always greener solutions, as well as other things that can be done which have a much smaller carbon footprint. For instance, choosing to recycle waste in the correct places instead of just tossing it anywhere already plays such a monumental role in the grand scheme of things. In the same line of thought, it is always better to keep things digital instead of wasting paper by printing. Moreover, there is also the method of transportation used to go to work that can be considered in this situation. A simple choice of biking to work instead of driving a car can also dramatically reduce a person’s carbon footprint.
Investing in Green Solutions
Besides personal day-to-day measures, the bigger impact lies in companies and their changing path to act in a sustainable way. And of course – to put it quite simply – there are multiple things that a company in the logistics sector can do to reduce their carbon footprint. This can be done by using more renewable sources of energy – like alternative fuels, as opposed to the burning of fossil fuels in transport logistics. There are also elements involving recycling and packaging that can be taken into account. By reusing materials and reducing the plastic used in packaging, there is already a huge impact on the environment. In the same line of thought, companies are already starting to reduce paper-use by investing in more digital tools for their day-to-day operations.
By deep-diving into logistics, it is clear to see that multiple green solutions are already put into practice. For instance, logistics companies that mainly work with road freight make sure that empty runs are reduced to the minimum. What does this refer to, you might ask? It is important for trucks to always be carrying a load, instead of simply going back and forth without any cargo. This can be both costly and inefficient. By properly looking into, and organizing, the transport schedules, it is already a much more sustainable way of transporting goods.
Moreover, if we were to look at carbon emissions from vehicles, companies could also invest in hydrogen-powered vehicles/trucks as they have a positive impact on the world. In the end of the day, it is all about leaving the world in better shape for future generations. Instead of looking back with regret at what could have been done, we can all begin to look forward with hope at what is to be. All positive action matters, whether it comes from a huge company, or from a single individual. Here, at Saloodo!, we always make sure to take the appropriate steps to ensure that greener solutions are implemented and put in practice.