Driving change: Shaping Sustainable Supply Chain Logistics

Environmental sustainability is a prevailing issue that’s being tackled in a variety of ways to reduce the environmental impact of supply chain logistics operations. Efforts are being made to reduce CO2 emissions, energy consumption and waste, boost recycling and reuse products and packaging.

Research from The MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, the 2022 State of Supply Chain Sustainability Report, indicates that supply chain sustainability is increasingly important to businesses, and customers, that want to buy from companies that are investing in, and are committed to supply chain sustainability. The supply chain is a key target for supporting a business’s sustainability efforts.

With logistics being a multi-faceted, diverse network of transportation modes, inland truck and rail networks and distribution facilities there’s a range of ways that the shipping industry is working to increase environmental sustainability.

Accurately measuring supply chain carbon footprints at each of the various stages of the supply chain enables companies to identify key areas for improvement. This assessment allows for targeted strategies to reduce emissions, such as selecting modes of transportation with lower carbon emissions and suppliers with carbon offset initiatives.

Optimizing travel routes and transport modes to reduce emissions is possible with advanced route optimization algorithms and selecting greener transportation modes, such as rail or sea freight over trucking or air transport. This approach helps to minimize fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining efficient delivery timelines.

Maximizing efficiency and reducing waste in end-to-end operations leads to reduced resource consumption and waste generation. By streamlining processes, minimizing idle times, and optimizing inventory levels fewer resources are consumed.

The development of cost-effective, sustainable solutions, such as consolidating shipment deliveries and load optimization not only reduces transportation costs but also lowers the carbon intensity of each shipment. Additionally, fewer trips with fuller loads results in less fuel consumption and emissions per unit of cargo.

Logistics planning that incorporates renewable energy solutions, such as solar panels for warehouses and distribution centers, as well as utilizing electric vehicles for transportation, can significantly cut down reliance on fossil fuels and decrease the overall carbon footprint of logistics operations.

Maximizing digital freight technology capabilities for optimal shipment visibility and data-driven decision-making enhances sustainable practices. Advanced digital platforms provide real-time visibility into shipments, allowing for more informed decisions that lead to reduced delays and less unnecessary movements of goods. This reduces emissions and conserves energy.

Optimizing last mile distributions to reduce emissions - By implementing strategies like micro-fulfillment centers, bike couriers, and smart delivery routes, shippers can minimize the environmental impact of the critical last mile. Shorter distances, lower emissions, and less congestion contribute to a greener planet.

Looking for opportunities to utilize biofuels and eco-friendly vehicles decreases the carbon emissions associated with transportation. 

At ASF, we’re focused on helping our customers reduce the impact of their supply chain logistics on the environment. We accomplish this by supporting shipping industry stakeholders that prioritize green, climate-friendly initiatives. By integrating sustainable practices, supply chain logistics operations can collectively contribute to a greener and healthier planet and support a more sustainable future. 

Meet Our Expert

This article is reviewed by Jeffrey D. Plumley, Chief Commercial Officer and Licensed US Customs House Broker.

Jeff has an extensive background in global logistics, spanning various freight forwarding executive management positions. As a Licensed US Customs House Broker, he has managed regulatory compliance and is a worldwide expert in Flexitank transportation logistics.

In addition to his strong forwarding and Flexitank background, Jeff was also Head of Regulatory Compliance and Sales for a major global logistics software provider. He has over 30 years of logistics experience and a strong leadership background having graduated from the Citadel.

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