What would you say if you were to estimate which aspect of your businesses’ activities has the greatest environmental impact? The majority of people would say manufacturing, but supply chain is the real answer. Your supply chain is responsible for about 90% of your environmental impact. Because your supply chain involves so many aspects of your organisation, from supplier sourcing to packing and shipping to last-mile delivery, it's important to understand it. The majority of your activities are most certainly connected to logistics. As a result, if you want to lessen your company's environmental impact, you must address your supply chain.

While climate change may pose an existential threat to people of all walks of life, it is not too late to turn the tide if we all work together. With industry-wide buy-in, green logistics techniques are easily attainable. Supply chain management, logistics and third-party logistics providers are all included. We can influence environmental practices that benefit everyone if we work together!

Green logistics is an integral component of a bigger project aimed at transitioning the world to a green economy. A green economy prioritises low carbon emissions, resource efficiency and social inclusion.

The warehouse industry is still evolving, with new techniques to improve operations and lower environmental impact being discovered. Green warehouses, whether new or refurbished have allowed leaders among warehouse operators to emerge and the concepts they employ can help alter warehouses all across the world.

Warehouses pollute the environment primarily through heating, cooling and lighting in global supply chains. The carbon footprint of a warehouse increases with its size. Key performance indicators like emissions, natural resource usage and trash and recycling can all be used to calculate the carbon footprint of a warehouse. Total carbon dioxide emissions, as well as energy consumption, water consumption and the pace at which products or materials are used, can all be used to identify areas where green efforts can be implemented.

Businesses can use a variety of green warehousing goods to support sustainable logistics:

  • Order-picking technology
  • Bar coding
  • Radio frequency identification
  • Warehouse management system (WMS) (RFID)

Order picking technology that uses automation or digitisation can improve accuracy and speed up warehouse orders. Order-picking technology also saves time and money by minimising the amount of paper used.

The sustainable distribution practices of bar coding and RFID are also minimising the requirement for paper. These solutions streamline operations and provide product visibility across the supply chain. Skylights to let in natural light, ceiling fans to maintain warehouse temperature, energy-efficient lights and fixtures, green construction materials and building insulation are all examples of sustainable products. Another fundamental concept of sustainable business is that eco-friendly warehouses reduce waste.

A warehouse management system (WMS) enables the digital coordination of retailers, distribution centres and warehouses as well as shipping and transportation. Green warehouses can run with the optimal amount of merchandise thanks to better inventory control provided by a WMS, minimising superfluous inventory and maximising storage space.

Customers are aware of the environmental impact of their purchasing behaviours thanks to the digital abundance of information. Green activities are prioritised by those that aim to lower their carbon footprint, from the raw material source to the warehouse, packing and transportation. Consumers that care about the environment are willing to pay more for green goods and services.

By lowering environmental impact through supply chain management, including green distribution, businesses gain a competitive advantage. Customer loyalty is increased by publishing specifics of these sustainable initiatives, such as the usage of solar panels or green building materials, because the buyer views the company to be environmentally conscious.

Benefits of a green economy include:

Reduced pollution, increased energy and resource efficiency, a pause in the loss of biodiversity, and the preservation of ecosystem services.

A successful green economy promotes economic progress while also enhancing people's ability to live in harmony with the environment. Economic growth may be gradual at first, but the benefits will be seen over time. Reduced risks connected with climate change, energy shocks and water scarcity are all long-term benefits of sustainable development. Green practices can also aid poor countries by opening them up to new export prospects. Businesses that adopt responsible supply chain procedures put themselves in a better position to succeed in growing markets.

Various approaches can be used by businesses to reduce the carbon footprint of their warehouses:

  • Lowering electricity demand: This can be accomplished by lowering heating, cooling and lighting demands, generating power on-site, or utilising energy management technologies.
  • Waste reduction: Businesses may reduce waste by ensuring effective inventory management, going paperless and utilising environmentally friendly packaging.
  • Building warehouses efficiently: Companies can reduce their impact on the land by reducing the size of warehouses, building vertically or using green building materials.

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Resources:

https://logisticsinsights.agility.com/smart-shipping/what-is-green-warehousing-how-sustainable-warehouses-can-satisfy-stakeholders-improve-the-bottom-line-and-prioritize-the-planet/ https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/j.ctv9hj7gj.6.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Affce6ad1e102715613b81bec96af7e14 https://www.symbia.com/blog/2021/4/5/10-facts-global-supply-chains-sustainability