PLASTIC FREE JULY: Sustainability Success Stories in Green Logistics and Beyond

Logistics and supply chain management play a central role in the global economy, and as we examine the environmental impact of our processes it is clear that the industry has a direct responsibility in tackling climate change.

The term ‘green logistics’ refers to the attempt to measure and minimize the ecological impact of logistics activities. In recent years consumers have become much more aware of the impact their purchases have and actively search for environmentally conscious companies that are investing in sustainability.

In warehousing, the key to green logistics is to make reduce plastic waste and evaluate supply chain practices to make them more eco-friendly and reduce the carbon footprint. According to CDP, supply chain emissions are on average 5.5 times higher than the direct emissions produced by a corporation.

With this month being ‘Plastic Free July’, a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution, what better time to celebrate some sustainability success stories from the industry and highlight the innovative ways in which large organisations are reducing their carbon footprint?

Nespresso utilises hydrogen-powered trucks across Europe

Coffee-maker Nespresso now has one of the very first dedicated hydrogen-powered trucks in Europe, which is being used to make deliveries across Switzerland, supporting its target to reduce the carbon impact of logistics operations by 50% by 2025.

Built by Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility, the truck is one of around 50 currently in use in Switzerland as part of a joint venture with H2 Energy, which leases the trucks to businesses on a pay-per-use basis.

Last September, Nespresso committed that every cup of Nespresso coffee, both for at-home and for professional customers, will be carbon neutral by 2022. In order to continue with that target, Nespresso will have access to a further six hydrogen-fuelled trucks in the near future.

Jaguar Land Rover unveils new net-zero logistics hub

Transport is the most polluting sector in the UK and with the Government’s legal requirement to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, the need to ‘go green’ is more important than ever.

As well as outlining plans to begin testing its first hydrogen car this year, JLR has launched a new logistics facility that is net-zero in operation, near its Solihull manufacturing plant.

Built during the pandemic through a partnership with Winvic Construction and Prologis, the facility was designed to have low levels of embodied carbon and to produce minimal emissions in operation, in line with the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) net-zero carbon framework.

JLR also partnered with Planet Mark and climate action charity, Cool Earth, to measure and reduce the building’s whole life carbon footprint. With this data, they were able to mitigate 5 times the unavoidable embodied carbon emissions (carbon associated with the construction of the building) by protecting vital areas of the rainforest. The carbon offset supports indigenous communities by protecting 760 acres of rainforest canopy in the Peruvian Amazon.

DPD and ENSO trial new EV tyres

The engine is only one component of an eco-friendly vehicle, another major factor is how efficiently your tires perform and the materials with which they are manufactured. Using tyres that are high-performing and efficient for this purpose will result in lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

A number of companies are attempting to replace rubber with a synthetic blend, often incorporating silica. Silica can not only help replace rubber in the treads but reduces road friction by dispersing the carbon molecules rather than allowing them to clump together and generate heat.

Parcel industry sustainability leader DPD has partnered with tyre manufacturer ENSO to conduct full road trials of a new tyre for commercial EVs, that are designed to reduce air and microplastic pollution.

ENSO has developed a new tyre that increases EV range on a single charge, while also reducing air and microplastic tyre pollution. During the trial with DPD, ENSO will compare its tyres with industry benchmarks on a fleet of DPD’s Nissan e-NV200 vans, at its all-electric delivery depots in Westminster and at Hyde Park.

Beer giant Corona achieves 'net-zero plastic footprint'

Single-use plastic is among the foremost concerns in sustainability. In the UK it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year, nearly half of which is packaging. Each year around 12.7 million tonnes of this plastic waste ends up in the ocean, harming sea life and destroying natural habitats.

Corona has become the first global beverage brand with a net-zero plastic footprint, meaning the brand recovers more plastic from the environment than it releases into the world. This achievement is part of Corona's vision to be a sustainability leader in consumer-packaged goods and is the latest in the brand's long-time efforts to help protect the world's oceans and beaches from marine plastic pollution.

Achieving this milestone comes after an extensive external assessment of Corona's global operations against the 3RI Corporate Plastic Stewardship Guidelines by the South Pole, a leading climate solutions provider. The assessment measured Corona's remaining plastic usage throughout the brand's products and distribution logistics processes.

In March, Anheuser-Busch InBev launched a sustainable packaging design for the Corona brand using leftover barley straw from farmers’ harvests to create paperboard rings rather than plastic.

Combining this with a major investment in their recycling facility in Mexico, Corona now recovers more plastic than its plastic footprint puts out.

If you are interested in a career in green logistics or would like to expand your previous knowledge in this area alongside a recognised qualification, System Group is now offering Skills Bootcamp Courses in Green Logistics & Transport.

It will also help learners to gain the ability to appreciate the environmental impact of the various modes of transport, logistics and supply chain operations, reverse logistics activities, and how to improve energy efficiency within the logistics and transport sectors.

Skills Bootcamps is aimed at potential supervisors and aspiring managers but is suitable for anyone wanting to make a career change.

For more details on how to sign up, click here.

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