Green Logistics: The Route to a Responsible, Sustainable EconomyBy Rubén Imán | Thu, 06/23/2022 - 09:00
According to UN meteorological agency report, greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level, ocean temperature and ocean acidification are the four indicators of climate change that broke records again in 2021. In this regard, they implore countries to redouble their efforts and present stronger and more ambitious climate action plans.
One of the main causes that has contributed to global warming is the increase in carbon dioxide, or CO2, emissions and if this course continues, a global temperature increase of 3.4 or 5 degrees Celsius could be reached by the end of the century, generating disastrous consequences, such as food supply problems due to the collapse of crops, a decrease in drinking water, the extinction of species, the disappearance of ecosystems, and an increase in droughts, hurricanes and typhoons.
In the case of Mexico, 98 percent of polluting emissions enter the air because the transportation sector, including aviation, maritime transportation, agricultural vehicles and automobiles, emit a quarter of the country's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That is 171 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), according to the National Inventory of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases and Compounds (INEGYCEI), presented by the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC).
This situation causes a serious problem for human health, particularly among vulnerable groups, so it is essential to seek new ways to make production and development compatible with the sustainability of the planet. In this regard, 62 percent of companies are implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainability actions. The study, “Mexican companies for the 2030 Agenda in the Decade of Action,” reveals that 60 percent believe they can have a positive impact on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while 13% invest more than MX$25 million (US$1.3 million) toward this purpose.
Undoubtedly, business leaders are under intense pressure to deliver financial value along with sustainable and equitable impact. Stakeholders are increasingly concerned about the origin of products, the packaging they receive and CO2 emissions. They demand that companies go beyond selling products or services.
The logistics industry also faces a major challenge that requires significant investment. Measuring its carbon footprint through tracking technologies that generate information on distances traveled; collecting information and integrating tracking tools to plan the most efficient and least polluting transportation routes; using business intelligence technology to increase productivity in a sustainable way; eliminating the use of paper through IT solutions; monitoring the condition of the units and managing the fleet to keep it in optimal condition; and training personnel on the company's environmental responsibility are some of the actions that can be taken in this industry to migrate toward green logistics.
It is important to mention that the adjective “green” encompasses elements that a few years ago were not relevant in the design of logistics processes but that today are valuable, such as recycling and good use of materials; green warehouses; and ecological transportation that includes autonomous vehicles, distribution with drones, use of bicycles and Segways.
During the last years, Onest Logistics, a leading Mexican company in logistics services, has become increasingly interested in sustainability and "Go Green" issues. Recently, the company has begun to analyze the implementation of electric vehicles in its operations, whether for last-mile deliveries or transfers to distribution centers, which will allow it to offer added value in logistics.
Adopting green or sustainable logistics measures is more than a trend; companies are recognizing that it is among the potentially strategic areas to develop in order to gain a better position in the market by attracting new buyers who are committed to sustainability and all that it entails. It also represents a competitive advantage, improving company efficiency, brand value and reputation, while saving resources and money. In addition, companies would be prepared to comply with environmental regulations, which are increasingly required by governments and consumers, but mainly it guarantees economic growth, while taking care of the planet.
It is clear that there is a long road ahead to achieve green logistics, which requires a cultural and structural change in the way the industry thinks, but today, it is a priority to innovate and collaborate using efficient logistics processes and actions that are increasingly available and accessible to all actors in this industry.