Business changes can be intimidating and often costly—especially if these changes lack clear-cut numbers for your return on investment. Adopting more green, environmentally-friendly options for your supply chain does not sound like something that can quickly improve your business’ bottom line, but the eventual benefits can lead to quite a positive ROI.
Of course, significant supply chain changes should never be taken lightly, and it’s important to conduct thorough research on green business practices in advance. Consider these tips before you encourage your business to “go green”:
1) Establish a baseline: Like anything in business, it’s important to set up a plan before making any significant changes to your operating system. Creating a sustainability baseline is a great start. Analyze each department of staff and compile the operational statistics that will provide you with the data needed to determine your carbon footprint and value drivers.
2) Find your opportunities: Once you’ve determined your business’ carbon footprint and value drivers, start doing some research. Find the areas where making reductions will align with value drivers. This could include reducing excess waste or byproducts; reducing areas where there is a disconnect, such as the amount of fuel used for transport of goods, compared to the actual transit time taken for your business’ logistics needs. The more opportunities for your business to adjust, the better.
3) Invest in certifications: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created the SmartWay program, which is designed to improve fuel efficiency and environmental performance in transportation supply chains. The EPA works with small trucking companies, rail carriers, commercial manufacturers and retailers. Businesses and 3PL’s can partner with this organization to track fuel consumption and improve transportation performance, access freight supply chain best practices which reduce costs and emissions, and address carbon-risk throughout their supply chain by improving energy and environmental efficiency of freight operations. There is also the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, a green building certification that encourages the best and healthiest building strategies and practices. Each building needs to meet a certain number of prerequisites in order to qualify for certification in fields like construction, interior design and building operations.
4) Learn the benefits and breaks: Depending on your location, there are a variety of tax breaks, credits and loan guarantees for any business that qualifies for environmental improvements through the state and/or federal government. The Recovery Act established in 2009 was designed to provide more benefits and incentives for businesses thinking about taking their supply chains green.
5) Get the word out: Once your green changes have been enacted, don’t forget to let your consumers know! Going green has become a positive buzzword in last two decades, and many Americans are fine with spending a little more if they know what they’re purchasing will have a positive effect on the environment.
While these are only a few tips regarding taking your logistics green, there are plenty of other options for you to consider when partnering with a 3PL provider. By utilizing the latest technology and most efficient logistics practices, 3pl providers can devise the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly logistics solution for your business—whether you’re shipping by air, land or sea.
STC Logistics is a certified SmartWay Transport Partner and has implemented ways to improve environmental performance and address carbon-risk throughout our supply chain. To learn more about our services, please click below.