Customer demands are nothing new to small businesses and companies. Today, a successful company means a little more than providing good products and fast shipping. Eventually, people become interested in green shipping initiatives.
What is green shipping?
The company’s values, philosophy, and global presence hold a large piece of brand image and significantly affect how your customers perceive you. One of the ways to stand out is to try green shipping. To show they care, business owners take part in different initiatives designed to improve our world. One of the significant issues that we all are involved in is environmental pollution.
Green shipping, or sustainable shipping, is a set of activities and initiatives to reduce fuel consumption and gas emissions. Eventually, going green can include anything from small steps like recyclable packing to significant efforts like switching to electric vehicles.
Why is green shipping important?
According to World Health Organization data, 9 out of 10 people breathe highly-polluted air. However, the concentration of harmful emissions is slowly decreasing throughout Europe and parts of America. It is the result of various global and local environmental initiatives in efforts to save our home planet.
The transportation industry accounts for 28 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. Small businesses employ more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, which makes them a powerful influencer in the global economy.
Most emissions are caused by the use of heavy-duty trucks that move freight. Shipping is a core part of whether you have a small grocery store or a retail e-commerce business. To address the truck-related pollution issue, companies strive to make their shipping more sustainable or greener.
How can small businesses support green shipping?
There are endless ways to help nature, from energy efficiency to sustainable operations. Going green can not only contribute to resolving the global environmental issue but can also strengthen your company’s brand image and reduce supply chain costs. There are numerous ways to join the green initiative, from small steps to more significant efforts.
There is always a way to ship more efficiently. One of the ways, in particular, is load consolidation and pool distribution. These are standard practices in the shipping industry that let you move more products while using less truck space. On your behalf, you can choose more environmentally conscious carriers or outsource your logistics to the companies that can manage load consolidation.
Another way small businesses can ship their freight more efficiently is less-than-truckload shipping. Apart from reduced emissions, LTL is a more cost-effective option than full-truckload.
Whether you are a supplier or retailer, there is a good chance you ship your goods packaged. Of course, a complete change of packing materials can take time and investments. However, chances are you already handle some reusable materials.
It may seem unimportant, but even minor differences count. If more companies start utilizing eco-friendly packaging, it will help change the big picture. Many projects like Sustainable Packaging Coalition can help your business become an eco-friendly shipper by using recyclable materials. These collaborations can be very beneficial for your brand presence and the environment.
Using technology and eliminating paper use
Although going digital seems evident, many companies still rely on paper billing and documentation. According to the Daily Green, paper accounts for 25 percent of landfill waste. It’s hard to imagine, but if U.S. offices reduced paper use by 10 percent, it would prevent 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gas.
Investing in proprietary technology like management systems and data storage servers will reduce your paper use and let you save on the entire logistics department. The increased visibility can enhance a company’s productivity and eliminate unnecessary operations. New truck technology includes network-controlled engines, temperature control, and tracking of the truck condition.
Often, shippers don’t consider the effects of fuel surcharges when organizing a shipment. Even though you might use the same routes for a long time, try to review them and find a possibility to shorten them. You can do it manually or by using route optimization tools that determine the most suitable roads according to many factors.
Besides decreasing emissions, optimized routes can help you save shipping costs by cutting fuel and maintenance expenses. In addition, you gain an excellent opportunity to reduce the overall shipment duration and deliver the orders much faster.
Alternative transportation modes
It’s difficult to call any of the existing transportation modes sustainable. However, there is a difference between how much pollution is produced by trucks, rail, ships and other types of transport. While ocean ships are considered to emit the largest amount of gases, rail shipping wins the award to be the least harmful for the environment. If possible, try to replace some of your truck transportation with rail transport.
The more advanced, and probably more sustainable option are hybrid or electric vehicles. Although it is a costly investment, we hope in the near future that these trucks will be an affordable alternative to the classic models.
Green shipping within your business
Essentially, there are many ways to become an eco-friendly shipper apart from green shipping initiatives. It is a good idea to encourage sustainable movement within your company. Here are some examples of how you can increase the involvement across your business:
- Sorting and recycling waste.
- Using energy-saving light bulbs.
- Practice recycled paper, bottles, etc.
- Utilizing eco-packaging.
- Joining various local and global green initiatives.
Promoting sustainability across the company is a great way to increase environmental awareness among people.
Green shipping can contribute to resolving environmental issues and benefit your business in many ways. Join the green movement and show your presence not just on the Earth Day, but every day. After all, the Earth is our home, and the issue of air pollutions should be equally disturbing all of us. Let’s join forces to make our planet a better place to live! GoShip supports green shipping and aims to provide you with suitable transportation options at affordable prices. Visit our website to find a perfect carrier match and get a free quote.