Transforming Logistics for a Sustainable Tomorrow
Tuesday 13th February 2024 | View all Blogs

In the face of global environmental challenges, the importance of sustainability in logistics has never been more prominent.

This sector, crucial for moving goods across the globe, is in the middle of a significant and sustainable transformation.

By embracing green practices, logistics not only contributes to preserving our environment but also ensures a healthier life for communities and leads to substantial cost savings for businesses through improved efficiency.

Let’s dive into why sustainability matters, the environmental impact of logistics, and the bright future that lies ahead with sustainable logistics solutions.

The Importance of Sustainability

Current projections warn that without significant efforts to reduce carbon emissions, our planet faces a dramatic temperature increase.

This isn’t just a matter of warmer summers or milder winters; this rise could have devastating effects: extensive flooding, fierce storms, prolonged droughts, and intense heat waves, all of which threaten water and food shortages globally.

The looming threat of such environmental catastrophes underscores the urgency for immediate action.

A person holding up a sign at a climate change protest that says

The Environmental Footprint of Logistics

The logistics sector plays a significant role in global warming, contributing to around a quarter of the world's CO2 emissions.

This staggering figure highlights the urgent need for change.

But this impact extends beyond air pollution, with the logistics industry also posing significant risks to marine ecosystems through the waste generated by ships.

On land, the situation is equally concerning. In Europe alone, millions of trucks are on the road, emitting a vast amount of carbon dioxide annually.

The supply chain, integral to this sector, accounts for a significant portion of global carbon emissions, underscoring the need for sustainable practices across the board,

“DHL states that approximately 80%-90% of a product's emissions come from the supply chain, which accounts for around 60% of all global carbon emissions.”

Towards a Sustainable Future in Logistics

Whilst logistics and transport remain high contributors to carbon emissions, the future of the sector is looking bright with sustainability at its core.

Leading truck manufacturers are at the forefront of the industry’s transition away from diesel-powered vehicles, investing heavily in the development of fully electric vehicles.

Facing a 2035 deadline for ending sales of new non-zero emission trucks up to 26 tonnes, and 2040 for heavier trucks, haulage companies nationwide are conducting trials with these major manufacturers to assess the practicality of these fully electric models. 

Given that the average haulage vehicle covers around 100,000 miles annually (at 5 days a week, that’s 385 miles a day), the efficiency of charging solutions and the operational range of these electric trucks are crucial factors for transport companies considering the shift towards electrification.

For those not yet prepared to transition to a fully electric fleet, fleet renewal programs offer a viable alternative. These programs prioritise the replacement of older, less efficient vehicles with newer models that meet higher environmental standards, ensuring that the industry's move towards sustainability continues to gain momentum.

An electric truck and charger

However, the journey towards sustainability doesn't stop with electric vehicles. Haulage companies are exploring various strategies to minimise their environmental impact.

One such approach involves the integration of solar panels to power transport offices and warehouses, significantly cutting down on carbon emissions.

A typical solar panel installation can offset over 900kg of CO2 each year, underscoring the potential of renewable energy sources in reducing the carbon footprint of logistics operations.

PalletOnline’s new home at Distribution House is centred around sustainability, aiming for net-zero emissions in the very near future. Its rooftop Solar PV system powers our offices and warehouse space, including a 100% electric forklift truck fleet.

Since our offices opened in February 2023, we’ve seen a huge 50% reduction in the amount of energy used by our warehouse.

Plus, our network partner Palletline is accredited with ISO 14001: Environmental, and ISO 50001: Energy. With their multi-hub model reducing operational distance by 4.5 million miles per year, that’s a reduction of 7.5 tonnes of CO2 every year.

An image of the solar panels on top of PalletOnline's HQ, Distribution House in Stoke-on-Trent

How You Can Contribute

Making a difference is simpler than you might think. Here’s how you can help reduce our impact on the planet:

Opt for Sustainable Shipping Partners: Choose companies that prioritise sustainability, like PalletOnline.

Consolidate Shipments: By shipping fewer, larger loads, you can help reduce the number of trips needed, cutting down on emissions.

Choose Biodegradable or Recyclable Packing Materials: Choose reusable wooden pallets, biodegradable stretch wrap, and cardboard protection.

Key Takeaways for a Greener Future
  • Sustainability is crucial for environmental and societal well-being.
  • The logistics sector is a significant contributor to global emissions, but change is underway.
  • Innovative, green solutions are reshaping the future of logistics.
  • Individual choices play a vital role in promoting sustainable logistics.
  • Collective action can lead to a sustainable transformation of the logistics sector.

It’s time to take action for the environment.

When choosing your next shipping partner, consider the impact on our planet and opt for a partner committed to sustainability; choose PalletOnline.

By making informed choices, we can collectively work towards a sustainable future in logistics.