Top Five Ways to Increase Your Logistics Sustainability

Shippers are facing some significant short-term challenges right now, including rising costs, ongoing labor shortages and port closures. As they work to manage these issues, logistics teams are also being asked to devote energy to the longer-term challenge of increasing their sustainability efforts.  

From government regulators to investors minding the bottom-line to consumers who are hyper-aware of climate change, shippers are facing the pressure of having to go green in their operations. There’s never been more pressure to not only operate in an environmentally responsible manner — but also to measure emissions, reduce your footprint, and report on your sustainability improvements.  

The challenge of maximizing sustainability can seem complex and overwhelming when you consider the sheer size and scale of modern supply chains. But maybe you just need the right partner to help you get there.  

As a modern 4PL working with the world’s leading logistics and sustainability teams, Redwood knows sustainability. We offer a full range of sustainability solutions and services specifically designed to help you decrease your negative environmental impacts and report on your emissions. 

By working with industry leaders and developing our own emissions reporting practices, we’ve developed a set of proven best practices you can learn from and adopt. The following are five practical, straightforward ways to start improving your sustainability results immediately.

1. Optimize, and re-optimize, your routes. 

There are multiple ways to get from Point A to Point B. It’s not always obvious which route is the most sustainable, especially when profitability and committed delivery dates also need to be considered. The complexity of planning routes that balance cost and delivery speed with sustainability — then replanning in real time as conditions change — exceeds human cognition. Fortunately, advanced transportation technology solutions makes it easier to optimize and re-optimize routes, quickly and iteratively. As the modern 4PL, Redwood can partner with your team to implement a best-in-class transportation management system (TMS) that leverages enormous volumes of data, including shipping and sustainability information, to make optimal route-planning decisions with minimal human intervention.   

2. Consider alternative transportation modes.

An advanced TMS can also consider multiple transportation modes to maximize sustainability, including highway, rail, and ocean. In addition, emerging eco-friendly modes like electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered ships. Often, significantly reducing your environmental footprint requires adopting innovative new practices, identifying new transportation partners or even re-thinking your foundational network design. Redwood’s dedicated managed services team evaluates shifting to lower emitting modes of transportation, opportunities for using electric vehicles, and network designs that reduce overall miles in your supply chain – all of which can dramatically increase your sustainability results. Our experts have driven innovation-led improvements for leading companies in multiple industries.

3. Embrace sustainable packaging.

Every step of your logistics operations, from pallets to parcel, offers an opportunity to minimize environmental impact. Modern cartonization software helps identify the most efficient packaging for each order, reducing air within your shipments and maximizing truck space. This not only benefits the environment of consolidating shipments, but also lowers your shipping costs. You can further optimize your packaging strategy by choosing 100% recycled materials and minimizing overall material use.

4. Measure and report your emissions. 

There’s a well-known adage that applies here: You can’t manage what you can’t measure. For many logistics teams, the first practical challenge in reducing GHG emissions is accurately measuring them. Redwood’s innovative emissions tracking tool, Redwood Hyperion, provides you with real-time visibility into your freight emissions, along with sustainability reporting capabilities. Hyperion integrates and automatically pulls shipping data directly from your TMS or other sources shipment data may be stored, leveraging their leading logistics integration platform, RedwoodConnect™, saving shippers time, money and resources. Additionally, Hyperion is designed to help you achieve compliance with tightening regulatory standards, as well as global climate change guidelines created by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and other groups.  

5. Set achievable sustainability targets. 

Profiling your current sustainability performance is tough, but it’s equally challenging to define sustainability targets for the future. What can you reasonably accomplish, given your business model, your supply chain footprint, your product lines, your shipping needs, your internal resources, and your customers’ delivery and cost expectations? That’s an extremely difficult question to answer. But many companies are publicly stating their sustainability targets; for example, over 5000 companies have publicized their targets on the SBTi website. So your employees, shareholders and consumers may also be looking for a stated commitment.  

With comprehensive capabilities, from technology solutions and expert guidance to hands-on execution support, Redwood meets you wherever you are in your sustainability journey. We can increase the efficiency and sustainability of your global logistics operations, as well as help measure and report those improvements. Our broad capabilities enable us to create a customized sustainability improvement plan for every customer, based on their own unique priorities and goals. Contact the Redwood team today to find out exactly how we can help you master the tough challenge of increased sustainability.