Creating a Conscious Supply Chain

general 21 June 2018

We’re taking a look into how 3PL’s can minimise environmental harm and achieve enduring environmental equilibrium by creating a sustainable supply chain…

Environmental awareness is ever increasing, spiralling from activist activity into the mainstream, a prime example of which is Planet Earth’s sustainability feature on plastics catalysing a worldwide movement demanding alternative solutions. Continuous improvement is a necessity to remain relevant in the supply chain, but how does this apply to environmental sustainability practice when the transport industry alone is responsible for around 25% of greenhouse gas emissions?

Being ecologically mindful in your fleet choice can be the first step to improving on CO2 emissions, which we must make a collective effort worldwide to reduce by half every 10 years under the Paris Climate Agreement. AKW have a commitment to Scania, who’s environmental considerations are well ahead of the curve, and undertake fleet renewal with the Swedish giant every 2 years. The new generation Scania fleet are on average five percent lower on emissions than the previous generation, which will hopefully allow AKW to improve upon our current CO2 saving of 1,404 tonnes per annum. Scania’s dedication to dramatically reducing fuel consumption also provides a great economic incentive in addition to environmental, with fuel representing around one third of the running costs of a vehicle. Smart onboard telematics further allow the efficient monitoring of CO2 and other environmentally impacting variables. Keeping abreast of technological advancements in vehicle CO2 reduction is also key; we’re investigating the viability of employing semi-electric urban vehicles, with Operations Manager Dave Cork attending demonstrations in Sweden this summer.

Besides the commercial vehicle fleet, AKW have cast their eyes to the sustainability of company cars, with the directors pioneering the use of fully electric vehicles, which will be offered to all qualifying staff members once their current vehicles are up for renewal. Not only will this benefit the environment, it can almost half the tax bill associated with company issued staff vehicles, incentivising economically to boot. 

Becoming greener could be as simple as reducing the miles your fleet drives. By adopting more efficient route planning algorithms and technologies, thus cutting out unnecessary mileage, carbon footprint can be massively reduced. Promoting environmental acumen to your traffic planners where manual intervention is required, as well as vehicle utilisation and efficient loading techniques for the drivers can pay dividends. The maintenance of vehicles should also be considered; AKW’s on site truck wash recycling system saves 608,000 litres of water each year and is one of the many examples of how being attentive to the potential impact of vehicle maintenance is important.

Proactivity behind the scenes is equally significant, taking a tenacious attitude to ensure office staff have the information, systems and tools in place to be as green as possible. From the smallest steps of raising awareness of the energy saving properties of shutting down DSE, to making smart choices by extending the responsibility to suppliers and collaborating with environmentally conscious brands is advisable. Take AKW’s recent contract with Shred-It as an example, who’s sustainability initiatives were a massive influence on them winning the tender, with each ton of paper recycled saving 3 cubic yards of landfill space.  Rebecca Davies, Managing Director, expands ‘choosing Shred-It as a partner in relation to GDPR compliance was a no brainer after learning how substantially they could improve our carbon footprint. CSR is always at the forefront of our purchasing decisions and we’re pleased to have chosen such an environmentally effective partner for our document disposal requirements’.

The conclusion? Leave no stone unturned when it comes to ways you could optimise your operation to improve the environment. If all logistics operators make a collective effort to tackle climate change, it will have a dramatic impact on the wellbeing of our planet, safeguarding it for the future generations. Sometimes the smallest pebbles make the biggest ripples.

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