Logistics Industry Is Making Sustainability a Priority
June 2, 2021
Sustainability is no longer another buzzword; it’s an operating imperative. From real environmental threats, new government mandates, and increasing consumer demands for socially and environmentally responsible products and services, businesses of all sizes are finding that engaging in sustainability is now a requirement to maintain competitiveness and attract and retain customers.
While we saw sustainability as a significant focus before the pandemic, we can expect it to continue to be a priority post-pandemic. In fact, the 2020s have been named the “Decade of Action” by the United Nations, which calls for ‘accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges – ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap’ by 2030.
But what does sustainability really mean in logistics? Sustainable logistics aim to lower the ecological footprint of its tasks, such as CO2 emissions, noise pollution, and accidents. To make sustainability a priority, logistics suppliers need to look for a balance between financial growth, environmental care, and society’s health.
Freight transportation is a large contributor to air pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, the transportation sector is responsible for more than 50% of total nitrogen oxide, more than 30% of volatile organic compounds, and more than 20% of particulate emissions inventory in the U.S. By 2025, shipment projections are expected to increase another 23.5%, reaching a total of 45% by 2040. These staggering numbers make it even more imperative for the trucking and logistics industry to prioritize sustainability.
Luckily, there are many ways for warehouses, offices, and logistics companies to incorporate sustainability into daily operations. Here are some of the ways Atlas and its Agents are starting to make a difference.
Recycling our waste conserves natural resources, saves energy, reduces landfill space and emissions, and so much more. That’s why Atlas Agents make every effort to purchase materials from sustainable and responsible sources. And through the program, they must have a system in place to recycle all commonly mixed recyclables. But that’s only the starting point; Sustainable Atlas Agents move on to recycle everything from office equipment and electronics to tires and pallets while working to reduce waste across their business.
Reducing fuel waste is our bottom line for environmental protection. That’s why we plan for every move by finding the most efficient routes for our trucks. Atlas and its Agents take great measures to reduce fuel consumption along the way, such as:
- Simple vehicle maintenance
- Setting fuel-efficiency goals and policies
- Reducing idling
- Instituting eco-driver training
On the sustainability front, Atlas is seeing an increase in more energy-efficient vehicles. For example, electric trucks and natural gas trucks are being utilized in local delivery fleets. Many customers are also requesting packing materials be recycled. We expect this trend to grow and foresee sustainable initiatives and innovations remaining a priority for customers and businesses alike.
It takes an estimated 2.5 gallons of water to produce one sheet of office paper, so Atlas does its part to conserve print resources. To save paper, we:
- Print sales literature on recycled paper
- Take advantage of document imaging
- Engage in paperless billing
- Invest in baling and bundling equipment to prepare paper wrap and boxes for recycling
We’ve established the Atlas World-Class Commitment Technology Standard to promote all of our Agents using digital forms of communication, reducing paper, and improving efficiency. With these standards in place, Atlas Agents have computerized access to real-time information on every customer’s move.
We also ask our Agents to do their part by taking steps to conserve paper, which includes utilizing paperless inventory, surveying and billing, switching printers and copiers to double-sided settings, and encouraging a culture of paper-free operations.
Atlas HQ and Atlas Agents have taken several steps to reduce our impact in our offices and warehouses. From lighting reduction and increased use of LED lights to investing in new HVAC units, we’re consistently finding new ways to make our buildings more efficient. Other examples include automated lighting, water conservation, and ensuring proper insulation.
Sustainability trends will be critical to transportation and warehouse companies navigating the industry throughout the next decade. Atlas is hopeful about the future of transportation, logistics, and sustainability as we work alongside partners and customers to navigate challenges. No matter the opportunities or challenges, sustainability is where trucking and logistics will gain a competitive edge while making a meaningful environmental impact.