Logistics industry can make a significant environmental impact by going beyond emissions reduction

The logistics industry should look beyond its direct emissions when determining its environmental impact according to global risk management provider SAI Global.

The industry must consider a lifecycle perspective to operations and products – starting from the acquisition of materials, to transportation of the product, and their end-of life-treatment.

SAI Global’s advice to the logistics industry

Saeid Nikdel, EMS expert at global risk management provider SAI Global says, “Parcel and freight companies are increasingly demonstrating a commitment to ethical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly practices across their operations.”

“Many are also choosing to partner with businesses in their supply chain that do the same.”

An overwhelming majority of Australians are also of the same view. An independent survey commissioned late last year by leading parcel delivery service CouriersPlease backs this up.

It found that nine in 10 Australian consumers are more likely to purchase ethical and sustainable products, while 85% of consumers want retailers and brands to be more transparent about the origins and sustainability of their products.

SAI Global recommends adopting the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems

This is where certifying to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems comes into its own, as it is a clear indication that an organisation is committed to monitoring and managing its environmental impact across its entire operation.

The ISO 14001 management system provides organisations with a framework to help identify impacts on the environment, define controls to prevent and reduce pollution, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

A product/service life cycle includes raw material acquisition, design, production, transportation/delivery, material usage, end-of-life treatment, and final disposal.”

“The cycle should be within the scope of their environmental management system.”

One of the biggest environmental problems we face today is our over-reliance of plastic goods and packaging, which can take anywhere from 20 years to 500 years to break down.

By stark contrast, plant-based packaging can take as little as 180 days to break down completely. “The Center for International Environmental Law indicates that packaging alone accounts for 40% of global demand for plastics.”

“For organisations that are looking to be environmentally responsible, dramatically reducing – or even eliminating – their reliance on plastic for packaging is an excellent place to start.”

Saeid says it is key for businesses to note that such an environmental management system is not only a good idea in terms of responsible behaviour and improving customer and stakeholder perception.

Business benefits from ISO 14001 EMS certification

  • Providing a point of difference from competitors who are not certified
  • Potentially reduced insurance premiums
  • Lower waste handling and disposal costs
  • Creating a positive brand image through demonstrating environmental awareness and responsibility
  • Easing of management of environmental risks
  • Improving the ability to respond to regulatory compliance
  • Reducing environmental offences, associated legal costs and financial penalties from prosecution.