Skeptics may say the vision of a sustainable supply chain is a contradiction in terms, thanks to the emissions spewed by 18-wheeler trucks, cargo jets, containerships, forklifts, and parcel delivery vans as they whisk freight around the globe. The challenge may be tough, but a growing number of logistics service providers are convinced there are business benefits to going green.
Just Monday, supply chain specialist APL Logistics Ltd. announced it is bolstering its sustainability practice by hiring an Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps fellow to create a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator. According to the Singapore-based 3PL, which has its U.S. headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., the calculator will allow customers to model greenhouse gas reduction scenarios.
Ordinarily, the move wouldn’t mean much on its own. But this year, it came shortly after the annual flurry of press releases that hits reporters’ email boxes every April 22, touting sustainable supply chain announcements for Earth Day. This year’s theme was all about cutting emissions:
- Mack Trucks unveiled today its fully electric garbage truck, the LR battery electric vehicle (BEV) that will begin testing in 2020 with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY).
- Toyota and Kenworth unveiled a jointly developed fuel cell electric heavy-duty truck, to be deployed as part of the Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities Project (ZANZEFF), hauling cargo received at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
- Forklift manufacturer Kalmar, part of Cargotec, introduced a fully electric version of its Empty Container Handler, taking another step toward its goal of offering an electric version of every product in its portfolio by 2021.
- Food industry redistributor Dot Transportation Inc., a subsidiary of Dot Foods Inc., deployed an Orange EV T-Series pure electric terminal truck at its DC in Modesto, Calif.
- The Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad (STE) and the railroad and transportation management company OmniTRAX unveiled an environmentally-friendly locomotive at its depot in San Juaquin County, Calif.
- Grocery store The Save Mart Companies (TSMC) said it would run all its transportations operations using 100 percent renewable drop-in diesel produced by Neste MY Renewable Diesel, offsetting the emissions of over 5,500 cars on the road a year.
By slashing emissions in nearly every corner of the supply chain, operators could team up to make a collective dent in the clouds of greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change, while continuing to turn a profit and still deliver their loads on time.