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Sustainable Logistics: Good for the Environment and Your Business

Posted by Rob Seal on September 13, 2022 - 2:55 PM
tractor trailer driving along tree-lined highway

How to make supply chain sustainability an achievable goal 

Reducing the negative environmental effects of doing business is a top initiative for many companies but achieving end goals like becoming carbon neutral or zero waste can feel difficult. However, sustainability doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can start anywhere in your supply chain, from procurement to distribution, and one of the best ways is by working with a logistics partner that shares your goal of going green.  

Identify which green logistics goals are most important 

The heart of sustainability is making the world better for the future. Every small step toward more sustainable logistics can help minimize your business’ environmental effects. Adopting green logistics policies and practices can provide positive environmental and social impacts across the supply chain. Identifying which of these goals is most important can help you narrow your focus. 

Reduce overall environmental impact 

Environmentally friendly logistics considers the downstream effect of every business decision. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the transportation sector is the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 27% of the annual impact. However, being more sustainable in your supply chain goes beyond just cutting CO2 emissions. Measures can also include reducing noise pollution, using fewer natural resources and creating less waste.  

Reasons to prioritize this goal 

Beyond being good for the environment, reducing your impact can help attract customers. Environmental technology company GreenPrint reports that environmental friendliness influences buying decisions for 73% of Americans. Not only can sustainable practices attract customers, but they can help consumers feel better about utilizing your products and services. Positioning your company as environmentally conscious and using sustainable transportation can be a huge selling point.  

Do business ethically 

Corporate responsibility means being accountable for your impact on the environment and people. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors cover how your company treats individuals, including working conditions, buildings, employee relations, and social justice.  

Reasons to prioritize this goal 

These types of sustainability programs can feel more geared toward behaving responsibly rather than measurement. However, sustainability goals that are more people-focused, like policies and procedures that honor diversity, inclusion and employee wellness, can increase employee engagement. The National Environmental Education Foundation found that almost 90% of employees show increased job satisfaction when engaging with a company’s sustainability measures. If improving the total employee experience is one of your goals, since sustainability programs can help employees feel aligned with your values and be proud of their work. 

Improve efficiency 

While efficiency gains are good for business and productivity, they can also reduce environmental impact. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development calls this eco-efficiency, where you can create more goods and services with fewer resources while creating less waste. Optimizing processes, implementing recycling programs, and switching to more resource-efficient practices along your entire supply chain can drive your business toward innovative sustainability.   

Reasons to prioritize this goal 

Completing tasks in the greenest way possible is often more efficient, saving time and money. While there might be an initial investment to change equipment or processes, the long-term financial savings of reducing energy or fuel consumption can significantly impact your overall spending.  

Find a sustainable logistics partner who aligns with your goals 

A sustainable logistics company can help you find efficiencies in your supply chain, like optimized delivery routes and technology improvements that can streamline operations and decrease your logistics costs.  

Currently, there are many different standards of measurement for sustainability practices. But because there is no universally accepted measurement, it can be helpful to look for alignment with frameworks like Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). You can also look for these 3 things as you evaluate new or existing partnerships:  

  • Mission, goals and reports. While talking about goals is important, ESG or corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports will outline the company’s action items.  
  • Certifications or awards. Some industry-standard certifications or awards for logistics providers include:

    • EcoVadis sustainability rating  

    • EPA SmartWay Program

    • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

    • Sustainability, Environmental Achievement and Leadership (SEAL) Awards 

  • Environmentally friendly programs. Many companies utilize strategies like drop and hook, electric vehicles and “no dead miles” to positively impact the environment. 

How ArcBest reports sustainability 

Through a trusted partnership with ArcBest®, we can help create and execute a more environmentally friendly plan for your company. As a leading logistics company, ArcBest is focused on making our equipment and facilities more sustainable with strategic practices and reporting. We invite you to read about our initiatives in our annual ESG report, which outlines what we do for our world, employees, business partners and communities. Together, we can keep the global supply chain moving and provide a better future for the next generation.  

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