A look at how to increase sustainability in the logistics industry.

Sustainability Logistics Industry, Industry Today

As you look to grow your business and catch up with your competitors, there are many factors that come into play. One of them is the sustainability of the supply chain. Every entrepreneur within the changing logistics industry has had this topic thrown at them in one way or another. This subject can be defined with reference to environmental, economic, and social components.

What’s the impact of the logistics industry on the environment? Transport of goods from one region to another uses a significant amount of energy, which is mostly petroleum. The environmental effect of the waste products from this operation is self-explanatory. But, this is just one piece of the puzzle. Economic and social impacts are both positive and negative, depending on the organization of the logisticians. So, how can one increase sustainability within the logistics industry?

1. The 4R Strategy

4R stands for Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and Recover. For any manufacturing and supply business, sustainability is becoming quite a challenge, but it is an essential part of the production process. It goes without saying that any business model should work towards ensuring a sustainable environment and economy. In most companies, the first three factors–reduce, recycle, and reuse–are considered, and in such cases this is referred to as the 3R strategy. However, more innovative businesses in the industry have introduced the fourth element, hence, the 4Rs.

The first option is to always reduce waste production as much as possible. Of course, this is not always achievable because of some unavoidable circumstances. If practicable, make sure to reuse any waste produced. Recycling comes third in your waste management hierarchy of options. For instance, recycled pallets can go a long way in ensuring sustainability for your company because it reduces the amount spent and also saves the environment. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that recycling is only the best choice if the waste cannot be reduced or recycled. If the three options are not applicable, it would be wise to recover materials and/or energy that you can possibly get from the waste.

2. Work On Performance Improvement

Sustainability auditing is one of the requirements for any successful business. However, the results of the operation can only remain on the paperwork if the management isn’t ready to implement corrective measures. Well, this could have severe ramifications on your supply chain operations. Therefore, it is important to always drive performance improvement within your company.

Normally, a business would contract an independent corporate group to complete the auditing process. However, you could also do additional onsite auditing, which can go a long way in revealing local practices and behavioral challenges that could be holding back your company. These assessments paired with effective corrective programs will drive sustainable performance.

3. Training And Capacity Building

One of the most effective ways of increasing sustainability is by training all those involved in your supply chain. There are several techniques you could use to transfer knowledge across the team, and one of these is through case studies. Most people act only when they have seen evidence of success. As such, as the business owner, you can leverage information from conferences and capacity building campaigns hosted by established companies.

There is a lot you could learn from big companies, whether within or outside your field of specialization. But, remember that you can’t work on sustainability single-handedly, and that’s why there is a need for educating and training your team, the suppliers, and other stakeholders in your chain.

4. Matters Energy

Perhaps,the most controversial factor when it comes to logistics and sustainability is energy. All companies would like to have their products delivered to the relevant recipients quickly to save time and maintain their reputation. However, if you choose a quicker mode of transportation, the environment could suffer a greater cost and this could outweigh the benefits. The fastest method is not necessarily the most efficient, yet it is the most efficient. As confusing as this statement sounds, it perfectly describes the conundrum of the transportation sector.

So, how will you serve the needs of your consumers while ensuring that you’re not leaving too much carbon footprints? Well, always go for the most environmentally friendly option. For instance, if you were to ship ten parcels, it would be best to use one truck rather than sending ten trucks to the same destination. In fact, this will not only be beneficial to the environment, but also to your financial side of things as you will reduce the amount of gas used and drivers required.


Sustainability for the logistics industry is the main subject of discussion among all stakeholders. Whether you are a small business owner or have an already established company, you’ll still need a sustainable supply chain. One step towards that direction is by ensuring that your firm considers the 4R strategy to the latter. Performance improvement, training, and reduction of energy consumption are other things you could try and implement.

Jessie Rollins
Jessie Rollins is a manufacturer who helps businesses improve their packaging and logistics. Jessie has been in the industry for years, making him one of the experts in the field.

When Jessie is not too busy at work, he loves to spend time with his family and publish content about the business.

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