How to Achieve a Greener Supply Chain
Whether it be by road, air, track or sea, there are steps you can adopt to achieve a greener supply chain. The U.S. logistics industry is a tremendously important part of the economy. Consistent consumer demand means freight is always on the move, and that leads to more energy demand and fuel consumption. Small business owners, supply chain managers, and almost everyone has started taking initiatives to reduce their carbon footprints, and use environmentally friendly freight shipping.
Freight Shipping and Environmental Quick Facts
Becoming environmentally friendly in the freight shipping world can seem like an impossible feat. It’s especially daunting when we are faced with facts and figures:
Out of the total greenhouse gas emissions, road transport makes up 75%.
Freight movement accounts for 16% of all corporate greenhouse emissions, with heavy-duty trucks as the fastest-growing contributor to emissions.
It’s projected that global freight transport emissions will surpass those from passenger vehicles by 2050.
These trends and numbers are scary from a carbon footprint and environmentalism perspective, but there’s plenty of methods to adopt that can counteract the above information for the future. Measuring your carbon footprint, warehousing sustainably, understanding which shipping options will work best for you, and getting some extra help with a shipping partner will put you well on your way to making your supply chain greener. Here’s how to get started.
Measure Your Carbon Footprint
One of the most important things to do to make your supply chain greener is to measure your energy usage on your shipments. There are several factors to look out for when you want to measure carbon emissions that both you and many freight carriers can take into account. These carbon emissions measurements include:
Route efficiency – Be proactive when planning lanes. See which options take fewer miles and fewer moving parts logistically, so you can get what you need moving while being eco-friendly. The less a shipment needs to travel and the less it needs to move between different trucks means less fuel consumption.
Safe driving – Many truckers and carriers nowadays are taking initiatives to drive smarter, so they limit the amount of carbon emissions they release. Mindful driving habits, like never exceeding the speed limit or idling frequently reduces fuel usage. Using less fuel helps the environment and keeps costs down for carriers and shippers alike. Sustainable freight practices for the trucking industry is the future.
Technology – It’s easier than ever to measure energy usage with the help of a powerful transportation management system (TMS). You can plan for better route efficiency, save time and reduce carbon emissions.
Achieve a Greener Supply Chain with Sustainable Warehousing
When it comes to making your supply chain 20 times greener, packaging is a deal breaker. There is, of course, the unavoidable excess packaging materials, but in some cases, you can reuse and recycle more than you think. Here are some sustainable packaging tips:
Use less packaging—Of course we want to make sure your freight arrives at its final destination in one piece, but all shippers have a tendency to overpack cargo. Pack smarter by using the best type of materials for your shipment. Alternatively, seek out biodegradable, eco-friendly materials to pack with since some typical packing materials may not be recyclable.
Sustainable packaging—Speaking of eco-friendly packing materials, consider sustainable outer packaging materials. It’s better for the earth and your bottom line since packaging costs are lowered by 90% when reusables are utilized. Efficiency increases as well, because these materials are made to be lightweight and easy-to-use. They will be a perfect fit for fast-paced processing systems.
Smaller packaging—By smaller, we mean properly-measured packaging. When shippers’ pack, they tend to use boxes or crates 40% larger than they need to be. Eliminate wasted space, increase efficiency, and avoid wasting materials by packaging properly.
Proper waste management—There’s a lot of cardboard waste in warehouse management. Instead of having only a large, front load dumpster, take on recycling bins to properly dispose of recyclables.
For more expert tips on best freight packaging practices, check out our free Guide to Freight Packaging.
Eco-Friendly Best Practices
Understanding the basics of shipping, such as which shipping method you should utilize or how to schedule pickups and deliveries, makes a huge difference in helping your supply chain be greener.
Ship TL when you can – Truckload shipping has many green advantages, such as being able to consolidate your shipment and securing a truck dedicated to only your shipment. This means fewer stops between your shipment’s point A to point B. It’s a cost-effective measure and minimizing freight space will cut down on the emissions your shipment is putting out as well.
Schedule your own pickups – It’s common for shippers to miss pickup appointments. That means another truck will have to come around and use twice the fuel needed to pick up your shipment.
Avoid air freight – Of all the modes of freight transportation, air freight has the most carbon emissions output, up to fifty times higher than ocean transport. If you’re going green, stay on the ground if you can.
Using a 3PL to Achieve a Greener Supply Chain
FreightCenter is a third-party logistics company who knows how to make supply chains greener. Our powerful TMS along with our extensive network of carriers and freight experts are all working together to make freight shipping more sustainable for the planet. We are a member of the EPA’s SmartWay program dedicated to helping companies and their supply chains be more environmentally conscious and sustainable, and our award-winning history proves we are the go-to partner for green supply chains.
Go green today by getting a free online quote or give us a call at 800.716.7608.
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