Global Efforts for Sustainable Logistics
The logistics industry is a key player in global trade but in environmentalists eyes, the industry could be making more of a conscious effort to assist in helping the environment. As time has passed, the logistics industry as a whole and individual operators have begun to make changes to their operations, swap out resources and regulate processes all to reduce their environmental footprint. Reducing emissions released into the air is one major way for companies to reduce their carbon footprint and assist in bettering the environment.
Whilst the logistics industry relies on transporting goods from one place to another, it is a priority for companies to improve the emissions they release into the environment. Implementing a greener solution, will allow companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Today many global logistics operators understand how each kilometre travelled, equates to noxious gases released into the air. With this understanding, operators can reduce the total number of kilometres travelled to reduce their gas output. This in turn lowers their carbon footprint.
Continuing into the future, global logistics transportation should focus on renewable resources to fuel ships and cargo planes as well as renewable energy sources to fuel trucks and operate offices. As these become more available, businesses will dramatically reduce their carbon footprint or become a zero emissions company.
An example of a net-zero emissions company in logistics is Qantas, who announced its commitment to becoming zero emissions by 2050. To allow this goal to come to fruition, Qantas will invest 50million dollars over the next 10 years to develop sustainable aviation fuels with much lower emissions compared to traditional jet fuels (Geck, 2019).
Reducing the overall energy consumption by a single transport operator could greatly impact the environment. By making small changes to operations in the office, at port and onboard could allow companies to make a smarter move to assist the environment. Although, there is currently the biggest debate in the transport industry that the fasted option isn’t always the most efficient yet the most efficient option isn’t the fastest option. This is where a lot of logistics companies struggle with the operation and the environment as they are trying to transport goods in a timely fashion whilst doing their best to use sustainable resources and reduce their environmental footprint.
Within the logistics industry, there are many products used in operation that have an expected lifespan. Whether that is tires, oils, parts and screens, the more frequent that a part is used the shorter its lifespan gets. When global logistics companies are using their vehicles to return to distribution centres after delivery, they are using materials for no profitable gain which will, in turn, increase their waste generation. As a result, the company’s carbon footprint increases with every movement it makes. By limiting the amount of movement without goods and turnover of parts/waste, logistics companies can reduce their contribution to landfill and emissions produced into the environment.
The Australian Government has strong legislation that logistics operators must abide by to trade and transport goods. Adhering to regulations about sustainability practices and resource management can allow operators to transport freely although there are rigid consequences such as fines, penalties and other criminal or civil consequences, that could be a repercussion of misunderstanding the legislation.
Within Australia, 99% of our exports are transported via sea freight, so, therefore, we have strict guidelines in place to protect our marine environment. The Protection of the Sea Act 1983 and the Navigation Act 2012 were implemented into domestic law to set out the legislative obligations relating to the prevention of accidental and operational marine environment pollution from shipping. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is in charge of administering the protection of the sea legislation and is responsible for compliance by all bodies in the industry. Learn more.
For land or domestic freight, the Australian Government applies strict design rules (ADR) administered by the transport ministers, who regulate the noise and emissions produced by heavy vehicles. Since 2011, standards for heavy vehicles (ADR 80/03) to limit the amount of carbon, nitrous oxide and partial matters that can be produced by this vehicle.
For air freight, regulations are in place regarding shipments of dangerous goods and their impact on the environment, control of air quality and air noise. In an effort to reduce air noise, the Australian government controls the air traffic and the number of planes ready to fly to predict the overall emissions per flight.
The Australian Government has also set up an Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) to incentivise businesses to reduce their emissions across all operational activity.
Geck, M. 2019. Seven major companies that committed to net-zero emissions in 2019. Retrieved from:https://www.unpri.org/pri-blogs/seven-major-companies-that-committed-to-net-zero-emissions-in-2019/5255.article