Logistics 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.

Saeid Nikdel, environmental management systems 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, from sourcing materials through to manufacture, distribution and disposability. 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.

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.

“Typical stages of a product/service lifecycle include raw material acquisition, design, production, transportation/delivery, material usage, end-of-life treatment, and final disposal, and organisations need to determine these within the scope of their environmental management system,” says Nikdel.

One of the biggest environmental problems, says Nikdel is our over-reliance of plastic goods and packaging, which can take anywhere from 20 years to 500 years to break down, depending on the type of plastic used. By stark contrast, plant-based packaging can take as little as 180 days to break down completely.