The Role of Sustainability in Logistics
In 2022, the topic of logistics continues to make a considerable presence in the daily news. From supply chain strains to bottlenecks and driver shortages, it’s becoming paramount to seek out opportunities for optimization. And, despite the common misconception that environmental regulations and eco-conscious manufacturing and distribution actions only add headaches for business across the globe, in reality, sustainability is an opportunity to streamline the logistics industry. It all comes down to researched, strategic, and innovative practices.
The Push for Supply Chain Sustainability
There is a growing interest in supply chain sustainability (SDS), according to a 2021 report
by MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. 59% of companies surveyed expressed an interest in SDS, including supplier development, supply chain visibility, and environmental impact reduction.
While this MIT report additionally concludes that 80% of respondents claimed COVID-19 resulted in “no impact or increased SCS commitments,” this does not mean the push for a sustainable logistics future should not exist. Air pollution not only poses a serious health risk to people, but is a substantial contributor to global climate change.
2020 was the start of major strains for 3PL logistics companies everywhere, affecting anything from raw materials and supplies to distribution and retail. Two years later, we are still witnessing the consequences
of the struggle to adapt to labor shortages, an unstable market, border closures, and quarantines. There is much more to the problem besides empty shelves at the grocery store.
But where there are problems, there are opportunities for innovation. This is where a continued and persistent commitment to sustainable business practices is critical. Practices already must be innovated to keep up with the changing times, and that can include environmentally conscious logistics and supply chain decisions.
Sustainability is a philosophy. In business, it is not simply about organic labels or subsidies for lowering carbon emissions. It’s about creating a lasting business model that improves the delivery of goods and services while increasing profitability and longevity.
Sustainability in Logistics Through Visibility
Understanding what happens in the logistics process is crucial to innovating it, leaving room for improved sustainable practices. The future of logistics depends on companies’ ability to leverage technologies in their advantage to streamline the supply chain and reduce environmental impact. In an article investigating the opportunities for sustainability offered by technology, Rick Veague cites enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
as a demonstrated means to helping “manufacturers develop and maintain overall life of a product by using data and tracking of which areas need more sustainable practices.” This is an example of taking a tool that is not inherently sustainable and utilizing it to its fullest extend to streamline, optimize, and innovate existing processes.
Atlas Logistics® has always maintained supply chain visibility as a core value. Our goal is to make the most of customers’ transportation budgets and develop customized supply chain solutions to create efficiencies that allow for faster delivery to market. And this foundational business ideology aligns with an industry that now demands this level of thinking.
COVID-19 heightened a shift to digital technologies out of necessity. What was a competitive edge in the past became an expectation at the least
. For Atlas Logistics, this meant adapting a traditionally phone-call based business to the web, catered instead to video conferences, online chatting, and EDI/API integrations. But this shift to digital logistics brought with it new capacity for customer-centered logistics and tailored solutions for 3PL needs. What at first was a necessary step to stay relevant in a changing industry now becomes a critical underpinning for building a sustainable future.
Contributing to a Culture of Environmental Awareness
Of course, traditional views of sustainability, like eco-conscious energy swaps and reduced emissions and waste are still incredibly valuable in working toward sustainable logistics. Atlas® World Group and Atlas® Agents alike have made strides toward reducing environmental impact in offices and warehouses, including increased use of LED lights, investing in energy-efficient HVAC units, water conservation, automated lighting, and ensuring proper insulation.
Sustainability trends established today will continue to be critical to transportation and warehouse companies navigating the industry throughout the next decade, and Atlas® believes we have positioned ourselves to roll with the challenges ahead, working alongside partners and customers. No matter the opportunities or challenges, sustainability is where trucking and logistics will gain a competitive edge while making a meaningful environmental impact.
Sustainable Logistics with Atlas®
We are looking forward to the changing logistics industry, and enjoy working with others who share our enthusiasm. Contact us
to get in touch with a representative or to request a quote.
Are you a carrier searching for an opportunity to grow with a 3PL logistics company who values end-to-end visibility? Work with us
Baker, Paul. The Impact of COVID-19: Reflections on the Transport and Logistics Sector. https://www.tradeeconomics.com/iec_publication/impact-covid19-transport-logistics/
MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. State of Supply Chain Sustainability in 2022. https://sscs.mit.edu
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Why Freight Matters to Supply Chain Sustainability. https://www.epa.gov/smartway/why-freight-matters-supply-chain-sustainability
Veague, Rick. 3 Technologies Driving Business Sustainability. https://devops.com/3-technologies-driving-business-sustainability/