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HomeBusiness OperationsLogisticsEnvironmental Impact and Social Responsibility: What Can Logistics Practitioners Do?

Environmental Impact and Social Responsibility: What Can Logistics Practitioners Do?

What Can Logistics Do
Image by gpointstudio on Freepik

The concepts of environmental impact and social responsibility have become increasingly important in today’s business landscape, especially in the logistics and supply chain industry. Many companies now integrate sustainability to preserve the environment and drive long-term profitability.

While sustainability in business cuts across different sectors and operations at different levels, it’s not just about the machines and processes. Sustainable policies and practices thrive in companies where the people are aware of the environmental impact they can have. Let’s explore the concept of green ideology, its principles, and practical strategies for implementing sustainable practices in your logistics processes.

What is the Green Ideology?

Green ideology is a set of principles and practices that promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Its core values center around preserving natural resources, reducing pollution, and minimizing the environmental impact of business operations on the natural ecosystem.

It starts with formulating eco-friendly policies and regulations and ensuring compliance. Beyond complying with environmental regulations, green ideology transcends into actively implementing methods and adjusting business operations to create a more sustainable future. Thus, the efficiency is not only in the ideology but in the implementation.

Green ideology encourages businesses to think beyond short-term gains and instead focus on long-term sustainability. By integrating green practices, companies can strike a balance between profitability and responsible environmental stewardship.

The Key Principles of the Green Ideology

Conservation and Resource Efficiency

Sustainability practices promote the efficient use of resources such as raw materials, water, and energy. Companies achieve this by optimizing their regular operations to minimize waste and explore renewable energy sources.

Waste Reduction and Recycling

One of the major causes of environmental pollution is the use of non-degradable materials such as plastic. Nearly 140 million metric tons of plastic accumulated in water bodies between 1970 and 2019, according to Statista. With an average plastic lifespan of 10 years, such wastes have a long-lasting negative environmental impact. Green ideology supports more effective waste disposal strategies and explores safer packaging alternatives, especially in the logistics industry.

Responsible Sourcing and Supply Chain Management

Green ideology extends to the entire supply chain, encouraging businesses to work with suppliers who share their commitment to sustainability. This involves partnering with people and other businesses that adhere to ethical and environmentally responsible practices.

Environmental Awareness and Education

Sustainability thrives with awareness and active consciousness. To promote compliance, the green ideology emphasizes educating employees, customers, and stakeholders about environmental issues and promoting eco-friendly behaviours.

How To Implement Sustainability in Logistics and Supply Chain

Implementing sustainable practices goes beyond following business trends; it’s a strategic business approach with long-term benefits. A survey by Statista reveals that over 53% of C-level business executives identified improved customer satisfaction and climatic changes as benefits of their business’s sustainability efforts.

As a manager or CEO, determining where and how best to implement green ideology to enhance your business operations is essential. Here is a list of 10 key business areas where business leaders can implement sustainable practices.

  1. Product Design and Development
  2. Raw Material Sourcing
  3. Manufacturing and Production
  4. Packaging and Distribution
  5. Logistics and Transportation
  6. Warehousing and Inventory Management
  7. Customer Use and Disposal
  8. Reverse Logistics and Circular Economy
  9. Collaboration and Stakeholder Engagement
  10. Continuous Improvement and Reporting

Seven Practical Steps to Implementing Sustainability in Business

  1. Set Clear Sustainability Goals

Every successful campaign begins with a clear plan. Define specific, measurable, and achievable sustainability goals that align with your business’s vision and values.

  1. Conduct a Sustainability Assessment

Before implementing any practice, you must evaluate your current environmental and social impact to identify areas for improvement within your operations and supply chain.

  1. Develop a Sustainability Strategy

A plan without a strategy is like a mere wish. Create a comprehensive strategy outlining actions, initiatives, and timelines to achieve your sustainability goals.

  1. Engage Stakeholders

At the heart of a company’s operations are the people who make things happen. To adopt the green ideology, make sure to create sustainability awareness, educate, and train your stakeholders to embrace sustainable practices in the entire business cycle. Such stakeholders include:

  • Business owners
  • Managers
  • Human Resource Personnel
  • Manufacturers
  • Suppliers
  • Logistics practitioners
  • Distributors
  • Customers
  1. Optimize Resource Efficiency

Beyond implementing strategies, ensure that there are actual measures to improve efficiency in using resources such as energy and water. For instance, you can revert to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydropower, etc.

  1. Minimize Waste Generation

As noted earlier, non-eco-friendly wastes such as plastics are enormously dangerous to the environment. You can go green by embracing waste mitigation measures such as recycling and waste segregation. Also, explore eco-friendly packaging options such as cornstarch packaging, reusable cloth bags, or paper delivery bags.

  1. Measure and Track Progress

Going green is never a one-time event. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor and track your sustainability progress, regularly analyze data, and use it to drive continuous improvement.

Examples of Top Companies Implementing Sustainable Practices

Due to the scope of their operations, large companies influence their environment and inspire smaller businesses in every way. By going green, some top businesses across the globe set a good standard for others within and outside their industry to follow. Here are some examples of such top companies.

  1. Apple: One of the leading tech companies in the world, Apple is committed to reducing carbon emissions by using mostly aluminum, a low-emission material. Apple also partners with over 20 companies committed to renewable energy.
  2. Google: According to their sustainability report, Google achieved carbon neutrality for 12 successive years. The tech giant also announced their long-term plans to power their operations using carbon-free energy every day, every year.
  3. Patagonia: As part of its environmental initiatives, this outdoor sports clothing company donates 1% of its earnings to environmental nonprofits to promote land, water, and air preservation worldwide. 

Final Thought

Taking practical steps such as setting clear sustainability goals, conducting assessments, engaging stakeholders, optimizing resource efficiency, and promoting circular economy practices can pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future. With sustainable practices, businesses contribute to a healthier planet and position themselves as responsible industry leaders.

Dmitry Antanovich is a Solutions Director, Digital Supply Chain at LeverX

Image by Dmitry Antanovich

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