Today’s era of escalating environmental concerns has elevated supply chain sustainability to a top priority for businesses worldwide. In view of the transport sector’s significant impact on carbon emissions, logistics companies can make considerable gains by embracing sustainability in their supply chains. Technology serves as a powerful tool to help them navigate the challenges associated with supply chain complexity.
There is often immense potential to improve the sustainability performance in complex global supply chain operations by reducing carbon emissions caused by transport and logistics activities. The business case for sustainable supply chains is robust, since more efficient use of resources, reduction of waste and optimization of the supply chain network can often also lead to cost savings.
However, the path to a more sustainable supply chain is fraught with many challenges. Many organizations struggle to incorporate sustainable practices into every stage of the supply chain management process – from sourcing raw materials to the final delivery of goods – so that each step aligns with the overall sustainability goals of the business. The complex interconnectedness of supply chains can make tracking and controlling each element an even more daunting task.
Despite these challenges, businesses must make significant efforts to improve supply chain sustainability. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, close to 200 countries agreed to try to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C. This means that carbon emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
The resulting Paris Climate Agreement has encouraged not only governments, but also businesses and institutions to put climate action on the agenda. At least 40 countries – in both the developed and the developing world – already have mandatory emissions reporting programs. Depending on the country in which your company operates, the size of your organization and other factors, such legislation may already affect you… and more and more countries are making it mandatory to report on emissions.
Sustainability is increasingly becoming non-negotiable in the business-to-business environment, but many businesses simply don’t know where to start.
It can help to remember that every journey begins with a single step, and in this case the first step is to get an understanding of the current carbon footprint. The carbon footprint is a good indicator of the company’s position in the broader context of global emissions and climate change.
By calculating your carbon footprint as a baseline measurement, you take the first step in your journey towards recognizing and valuing sustainable practices. Once your current footprint is clear, you can formulate departmental or company-wide objectives that are in line with the reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Technology such as advanced tracking systems and data analysis tools can be an enabler in achieving sustainability objectives by providing critical knowledge, visibility and control over supply chain operations. Leveraging technological solutions such as software to calculate and report on carbon emissions can help businesses implement sustainable supply chain practices that will ultimately contribute to streamlining their operations as well as complying with emissions legislation.
However, success in achieving supply chain sustainability is also contingent on the engagement of stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, investors and employees, since they each play a vital role in driving sustainable practices. Establishing a dialogue with stakeholders can result in collaborative solutions that further enhance the sustainability performance of the supply chain. Technology is key to bridging gaps and creating new opportunities for partners to collaborate.
For businesses in the transportation and logistics sectors, calculating the carbon footprint might seem like an intimidating challenge. But remember, every journey begins with a single step. By calculating and understanding your carbon footprint, you move one step closer to a world that recognizes and values sustainable practices. And ultimately, reducing your transport and logistics-related carbon footprint is not just good for the planet; it’s good for business, too. So start calculating your footprint today, and let’s move towards a more sustainable world together.
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