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The importance of sustainable logistics

circular economy

With the impact of climate change becoming ever more apparent and laws and regulations relating to carbon emissions and single-use plastics becoming increasingly strict, sustainability is currently one of the main drivers shaping modern business decisions. From investing in more eco-friendly packaging to looking at ways to make manufacturing processes greener, every aspect of business can be made more sustainable. However, with a recent Youmatter report suggesting that as much as 90% of the average business’ environmental impacts stem from their supply chains, the importance of making logistics more sustainable has never been clearer.

In this article, we look at the ways in which businesses can become more sustainable, looking specifically at improvements they can make to their logistical processes and the benefits these changes can bring.

How can businesses become more sustainable?

When it comes to making a business more sustainable, there are a number of areas businesses can focus on.

How to make properties more sustainable

The first area worth concentrating on is the energy efficiency of your business’ building and other facilities, such as warehouses and shipping depots. If you own your buildings, you may be able to access eco grants and other funding to help offset the cost of making your properties more efficient. This can include improving insulation, for example, or installing solar panels or wind turbines to contribute to your energy needs. On the other hand, if you are a tenant, it may be worth discussing any potential eco improvements with your landlord.

Making business processes more sustainable

Another area to consider concerns the processes and manufacturing procedures your business is involved with. If your business is office-based, this could include upgrading computers and other electrical equipment to ensure you are only using the most energy efficient kit. For manufacturing companies, carrying out regular checks to ensure all machinery is well maintained and as energy efficient as possible, for example, could have a significant impact.

However, as mentioned above, for most businesses it is logistical activities that account for the vast majority of their carbon footprint. Below we outline some of the easiest ways to make your logistics and shipping processes more sustainable.

How to make shipping sustainable

Optimise loads

Naturally, the heavier a truck’s load, the more fuel is needed during transit to transport your business’ goods. Interestingly, the shipping pallets that hold goods during transit can make up a large portion of a truckload’s weight (commonly-used wooden block pallets can weigh up to eighty pounds). With this in mind, switching to a lighter pallet – that is just as strong and robust as the standard wooden model – is a great way to cut back on fuel consumption. PALLITE® pallets, for example, are made from fully recyclable paper glued into a strong honeycomb structure and are up to 83% lighter than wooden alternatives.

Plan routes efficiently
Although it sounds obvious, failing to plan efficiently when it comes to delivery routes not only costs businesses money, it also adds to their carbon footprint unnecessarily. Route-planning software, when used in tandem with drivers’ GPS systems, can help to ensure your goods take the most efficient routes, limiting fuel usage, reducing emissions and saving you money in the process.

Eliminate packaging waste and become more circular
Despite typically being responsible for a huge amount of greenhouse gas being emitted during manufacture, and often not being recycled after use, single-use plastics are still all too regularly used as packaging materials. Through the use of smart package design and sustainable packaging materials that act as a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to bubble wrap and polystyrene, your business can cut back on its reliance on single-use plastics and become more environmentally friendly. EcoLITE BY PALLITE®, is a great example of a sustainable packaging alternative.

The benefits of sustainable logistics

Thanks to advancing technology and a greater general awareness of environmental issues and corporate responsibility, implementing the suggestions above and making your business’ logistical processes more efficient is easier than ever. These simple changes can bring with them a wide range of benefits not only to the environment, but also to your business. These include:

    1. A reduced environmental impact
      Above all else, implementing more sustainable logistical processes can reduce your business’ carbon footprint.
    2. Compliance adherence
      Governments and industry regulators are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to sustainable practices in business. By putting sustainable logistical processes in place now, you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure you remain 100% compliant.
    3. Reputational protection/boost
      Implementing green logistical practices helps establish your business’ reputation as an environmentally responsible brand. This in turn can build brand trust and customer loyalty, and even lead to more business. On the other hand, failing to act when it comes to sustainability can have a negative impact on your business’ reputation.

If your business is looking to have a more sustainable approach to logistics, the entire PALLITE® range of sustainable honeycomb paper products could help you achieve your goals.

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