Sustainable Logistics: Why Choose an Eco-Friendly Fulfillment Partner?
What is Sustainable Logistics?
The term sustainable logistics refers to logistics practices that focus on improving sustainability and are often referred to as green logistics or eco-friendly logistics. Sustainable logistics practices span the entire supply chain from responsible sourcing of raw materials to optimised last mile delivery.
Examples of Sustainable Logistics
Sustainable logistics practices often aim to reduce CO2 emissions or even become carbon neutral by investing in more eco-friendly equipment, utilising data to make operations more efficient, getting products closer to the end customer, or offsetting emissions by investing in environmental preservation or enhancement efforts.
The most sustainable transportation method is ground shipping. By optimising shipments and routes while using ground shipping methods, companies can reduce their environmental impact.
Why is Sustainable Logistics Important?
Sustainable logistics methods are not only important for our environment but also so that companies can remain compliant with government regulations and meet customer demands.
As research has come out in the past few decades showing the harm that carbon emissions and excessive industrial waste have on our environment, the way we think about industry as a whole has changed. Many consumers believe companies have an ethical and moral responsibility to reduce their impact on the environment and governments across the globe have put regulations into place to reduce carbon emissions and waste.
Environmental Benefits of Sustainable Logistics
There are several environmental benefits of sustainable logistics practices.
Reduced Carbon Emissions
One of the main goals companies have when working towards a more sustainable supply chain is a reduction in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, which are affecting the global climate. Since shipping is one of the highest producers of emissions, many companies and 3PLs focus on optimizing shipping to reduce empty miles and curb emissions.
Conservation of Natural Resources
More sustainable logistics practices preserve natural resources like water, wood and products derived from wood like paper and cardboard, as well as fossil fuels. Companies working towards more eco-friendly practices may also use more sustainable resources like bamboo or hemp instead of less sustainable materials like wood.
Less Waste Produced
We’ve all seen the warnings about how our trash can impact the environment, specifically wildlife. Since companies produce waste just like regular people, cutting down on that waste is one way companies can improve the environment. They do this through a reduction or change in how they package products, recycling, and reusing when possible.
Economic Benefits of Sustainable Logistics
Beyond saving the environment, sustainable logistics practices can have positive economic impacts for companies utilizing them.
The bottom line is the most compelling factor for many companies when it comes to implementing sustainable practices. When companies use fewer resources and optimise their supply chains to be more environmentally friendly, it costs them less to move and store goods.
Improved Public Perception
When companies embrace environmentally sound practices, it is great for their public image. Failing to do so, and especially failing to do so after making promises to be more environmentally friendly, has created reputational nightmares for several top companies, from tech corporations to apparel enterprises.
While sustainable practices aren’t the most important factor average consumers consider when making purchases, it is one of the factors that affect buying decisions. By utilising sustainable logistics practices, companies can gain an edge over the competition. Customers concerned about their carbon footprint often choose companies with sustainable practices, and those practices include working with sustainable logistics companies.
Staying Ahead of Government Regulations
In the US, state and federal governments have implemented environmental regulations, many of which will go into effect in the next decade. By choosing sustainable practices now, companies can stay ahead of those government regulations and take the time to ensure those practices serve their bottom line.
Sustainability in Reverse Logistics
Reverse logistics involves moving goods from their final destination back upstream, typically thanks to the item being returned to the retailer. Due to the multiple rounds of last mile delivery involved in reverse logistics and potentially wasted product, it can be an environmentally (and monetarily) costly process.
Companies can enact more sustainable reverse logistics by working to reduce returns in the first place, repackaging and reselling returned items rather than throwing them out, and disposing returned items responsibly when necessary. A sustainable reverse logistics partner can help them do those things since many companies simply aren’t equipped to handle returns sustainably.
What is Sustainable Fulfilment?
Sustainable fulfilment involves using eco-friendly practices and materials to fulfil orders to reduce environmental impact. This means not only utilizing environmentally friendly packaging, but also packaging that will stand up to shipping so the item within isn’t damaged and therefore returned. Sustainable fulfilment often relies on technology to drive more sustainable fulfilment solutions like aggregation and consolidation.
The Role of Fulfilment Partners in Sustainable Logistics
Fulfilment partners are hired by companies, often ecommerce retailers, that need help with logistics processes, including receiving freight, warehouse storage, picking and packing orders, and shipping.
Choosing a sustainable fulfilment partner can have a huge impact on a company’s carbon footprint. Sustainable fulfilment partners can use their logistics networks, technology, and knowledge of sustainable fulfilment practices to cut down on emissions and reduce waste. These sustainable fulfilment partners often use technology to improve efficiency, reducing overall environmental impact for both their companies and their customers.
How to Choose a Sustainable Fulfilment Partner
When you’re hunting for a sustainable fulfilment partner, you can ask these questions to find a good fit to help your company meet sustainability goals.
- Does the partner have any green initiatives in place? What are they?
- Do they use eco-friendly packaging?
- How are they reducing or eliminating waste?
- What is the partner doing to reduce emissions?
- Do they utilize a green fleet?
SEKO Logistics’ Sustainable Logistics Initiatives
At SEKO, sustainability is intertwined with our organizational goals. We believe it’s not only our responsibility to abide by environmentally sound practices, but also to help our customers do the same. We’re living up to our sustainability promises in many ways, including our partnership with Happy Returns, allowing our customers’ customers to return items purchased online at any of their more than 5,000 Return Bars. Through our tailored logistics services packages, we’ve been able to help customers like Vivo Life be more sustainable while providing customers with a great experience.
Sustainable logistics, or logistics practices that focus on sustainability including route and shipment optimization, careful placement of products near the end customer, and eco-friendly packaging, can be good for business in many ways, both economically and from a social responsibility perspective. Achieving sustainable logistics operations isn’t easy, but a great eco-friendly fulfilment partner like the team at SEKO can help. Contact us to learn more.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Everything we do is designed to make our clients' lives easier - helping them to develop and maintain excellent relationships with their own customers. Let us know what business challenges you are facing, and we'll see what we can do to help.