For more years than I care to recall, I’ve worked in supply chain procurement, fulfillment, and transportation logistics. Now I’m reporting and writing about how supply chains are embracing sustainability. It is a big word and a enormous topic. I am likely to demystify sustainability in bite-size pieces. Today it is about getting your products to the consumer without destroying Earth.
Incorporating sustainability initiatives into your supply chain is no longer a choice, for three reasons:
- Competitive advantage in your business,
- Mitigate risks that could damage your brand,
- Attract and keep customers.
Sustainability is based on the principle that socially responsible products and practices aren’t only great for the environment but good for society and business. Consumers care about sustainable practices — by the depleting of natural resources to product packaging and transport.
The Delivery Dilemma
Clients want fast deliveries. But they also care about the effects of shipping on the environment. Regrettably, the”last mile” is notoriously eco-unfriendly.
On the one hand, consumers need fewer fossil fuels, cleaner air, recyclable packaging, and minimal waste. But they still need their purchases currently . According to a recent Nielsen survey of ecommerce clients, 73 percent of respondents said they would definitely or likely change their behaviour to reduce its influence on Earth . We’ve yet to see it happen in practice, however, except perhaps one of millennials. Thus demographics have a definite impact — the younger the audience, the more significant is sustainability.
How do you construct sustainable practices into your logistics? Consider:
- Slower is greener. Not every purchase is urgent. Clients could be happy to wait longer if it is best for the environment. Convey the tradeoff to shoppers: Five-day delivery is cheaper (or even free). Or, consolidating parcel requests for cheaper, later delivery reduces miles traveled. Slower but greener is 1 way to get the balance right with clients.
- More delivery options. By providing customers flexible delivery alternatives like click-and-collect or parcel pick-up locations or lockers, you can streamline last-mile paths, lowering your carbon footprint. Many parcel couriers now use electric vehicles for inner-city deliveries. They’re workable and effective up to 70 miles without charging.
- Minimize returned products. Returns cost retailers billions annually, especially apparel vendors. The cost to the environment is enormous, and many returned goods go straight to the landfill. Offer incentives and alternatives to discourage returns. Returns are a hassle for the customer in addition to the merchant.
Whether your eco-initiatives are inside your supply chain or via spouses, tell your clients that you care. Project your image for a retailer that needs a clean environment and the restricted use of scarce resources. Build trust through communication and transparency. Beware of greenwashing, however. Consumers are wise to false claims and misleading messages.
Take the instance of Green Toys, a direct-to-consumer manufacturer. All its toys are sourced, designed, and fabricated in america, greatly reducing the environmental footprint. Here’s the Corporation’s”Our Commitment” announcement:
In Green Toys, it is our mission to be the world’s most trusted, transparent provider of environmentally friendly and socially responsible toys and tableware for kids. Sure, it’s a mouthful. However, it’s who we are.
Green Toys products are sourced, designed, and fabricated in america, greatly reducing the environmental footprint.
Ecommerce isn’t environmentally friendly. Smaller logistics and transportation companies are normally not forward-thinking in sustainable practices.
Retailers should be worried about uncommitted carriers. Bad news travels quickly. Reputations are critical. As ecommerce sales continue to grow, logistics companies need to adjust their business practices to match the style and forms of delivery services customers demand.
Making the perfect choice is all about picking the most environmentally friendly and reasonably priced delivery mode and carrier partner for every order and destination. The intention is to minimize trips and distance covered. Working with numerous carriers, couriers, and transportation modes permits you to choose the ideal approach to ship each package.