20 Sep

A Guide to Green Logistics

Over the past number of years the issue of global warming has been at the heart of many discussions.

Businesses, individuals and the political stage have all been trying to find ways to reduce their environmental impact on the world, in particular that of our carbon footprint. The logistics industry is no different, with the emergence of green logistics. So what is green logistics and how could it be achieved?

Green logistics

The chief aim of green logistics is to allow logistic companies to maintain and improve upon the current state of logistics efficiency and profitability while reducing their environmental impact. The aim of green logistics isn’t to expect complete carbon neutrality, but rather to refine and reduce environmental impact as much as conceivably possible.

How green logistics could be achieved

The effectiveness of green logistics relies upon the willingness of logistics companies themselves to participate in environmentally friendly practices. There is also the simple fact that new technologies and energies would substantially help. As it stands, vehicles across the world still rely heavily upon fossil fuels to move from point A to point B.

While hybrid vehicles do exist, it would be a much larger task to achieve the same harmony between an electricity and fuel-powered freight truck. Moving a truck requires a lot more power than moving a car. However, if hybrid freight trucks do become commercially available, they could certainly play a large role in the green future of logistics.

But beyond technology and impending energies, a more environmentally conscious logistics industry could be achieved through things such as:

  • Refined supply chain management
  • More efficient track routing and improved infrastructure (particularly roads and railroads)
  • Improved manufacturing processes

On the manufacturing end, imagine a food packaging company that reduces the amount of plastics it uses by making its plastic packaging slightly thinner. Over the course of manufacturing, it would actually lead to a substantial reduction in how much plastic is used. Also, the reduction in product weight and dimensions would lead to reduced shipping costs. In effect they’re both reducing their environmental impact and their operational costs.

As mentioned before, there’s also the option – but not the expectation – of going carbon neutral. Achieving carbon neutrality, however, could prove to be a fairly costly exercise. At its most basic, a carbon neutral industry means large costs would have to be paid to offset any carbon impact that industry puts on the world. 

Given that the logistics industry is comprised of large, medium and small companies, not all businesses could cater to the notable costs a carbon neutral endeavour would require. That said, if a carbon neutral scheme could ever become a financially viable option, it would provide a strong stepping stone for green logistics.

How do you think logistics companies will make their operations greener? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

* Image source: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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