News - Construction News

How effective logistics support the achievement sustainability goals 

Sustainability is a vast conversation across multiple industries, with many mapping out lofty net zero carbon emissions targets in the coming decades. Logistics is no different, with the wider industry looking to achieve net zero by 2040.

Being able to effectively manage logistic operations can significantly affect the level of emissions produced and the harm it can cause both environmentally and socially. So, how can logistics operators introduce changes to their fleets and practices to meet these sustainability goals? Here, Wincanton, leading logistics partners, have offered some industry-level insight into how sustainability goals can be hit.

Cleaner fuel alternatives
One of the key challenges for logistics to overcome is the carbon footprint that the industry faces due to the use of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) that require traditional petrol and diesel to fuel them.

That’s why it’s so important for fleets to explore alternatively fuelled vehicles to move towards more sustainable operations. Fully electric and hybrid vehicles are beginning to emerge significantly in the UK, with over 950,000 fully electric cars estimated to be on the roads. With the public so readily embracing alternatively fuelled vehicles, logistics as an industry should also be prepared to start integrating them into their fleets.

Similarly, reviewing transport routes can help identify areas of improvement to reduce the level of carbon emissions from the fleet. This could work in tandem with more advanced route planning to assess how best to balance fuel consumption and the emissions produced.

The social and economic benefits of sustainable logistics
Conversations around sustainability usually focus on environmental concerns, but there’s a lot to be gained positively from a social and economic perspective. Prioritising sustainability and displaying it to your customers and consumers can help to build and establish trust within the supply chain.

Within the supply chain, focusing on sourcing ethically and fair labour practices is important from a social perspective. This is where the logistics industry can have a huge impact by working with companies that embrace and prioritise local sourcing. Not only does this help to stimulate local economies, but it also helps to grow local communities.

By focusing logistics on local areas, the environmental impact of long-distance journeys and routes associated with the industry can be reduced.

Emerging technologies
Newer technologies will be massive in helping logistics optimise their operations and reduce the waste and emissions produced. One emerging tech concept that could offer a solution is the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to a network of devices and software that are all connected and communicate for a fluid experience of each working in tandem.

Using these devices and sensors in fleet vehicles can allow for real-time monitoring of anything from the temperature to the humidity of the goods you’re transporting. From this, logistics companies can make informed, data-driven decisions for the efficiency of their routes and transportation.

Another that could be hugely beneficial to the industry is blockchain tech. This is most associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin due to it being a ledger that is tamper-proof and offers duplicates of transactions for better visibility. Integrating this into the supply chain could reduce fraud, as well as ensure ethical and sustainable processes are being kept within standards.

Collaborative approach and setting standards
A wider industry shift could be required to achieve sustainability goals, particularly when moving towards a collaborative approach. This extends towards suppliers and manufacturers, and working closely with the logistics industry can set standards for sustainability that can not only be established but also upheld accordingly.

Tackling these goals collectively can promote a commitment to these practices that focus on sustainability, leading from the onus moving away from just individual companies and offering a much larger impact for a whole industry.

The standards set through this collaboration could include monitoring and reporting on the levels of CO2 emissions and overall landfill waste produced by businesses or projects. Once a median has been found, setting collaborative standards throughout the industry that align with government targets could help establish the sector’s commitment to greener, more sustainable practices.

The key to sustainability success in logistics is through the integration of not just established and proven green strategies like alternatively fuelled vehicles but also embracing social and ethical practices. This aligns with the changing preferences of consumers and customers who want to engage with businesses that place sustainability at the heart of their mission.