Customer demands are nothing new to small businesses and companies. Today, being a successful company means a little more than just providing good products and fast shipping. Eventually, people become interested not only in what you do but also in who you are. Company’s values, philosophy, and global presence hold a large piece of brand image and greatly affect the way your customers perceive you. One of the ways to stand out is to try green shipping.
To show they care, businesses take part in different initiatives that are designed to make our world better. One of the major issues that we all are involved in is environmental pollution. According to the World Health Organization data, 9 out of 10 people breath highly-polluted air. It seems like the Earth is close to the critical levels of pollution, however, the concentration of harmful emissions is slowly decreasing throughout Europe and parts of America. This is the result of various environmental initiatives, both global and local, in efforts to save our home planet.
What do small businesses have to do with that? The thing is, the transportation industry accounts for 28 percent of the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. Small businesses employ more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, which makes it a substantial influencer of the global economy. Most emissions are caused by the use of heavy-duty trucks that move freight. Whether you have a small grocery store or an e-commerce retail business, shipping is a core part of it. To address the truck-related pollution issue, companies strive to make their shipping more sustainable, or greener.
What is the green shipping?
Green shipping, or sustainable shipping, is a set of activities and initiatives aimed to reduce fuel consumption and gas emissions. Eventually, going green can include anything from small steps like using recyclable packing to significant efforts like switching to electric vehicles.
Small businesses have the flexibility to make decisions on their own. Why not make these decisions environmentally conscious? From energy efficiency to sustainable operations, there are endless ways to help our mother nature.
Going green can not only contribute to resolving the global environmental issue but can strengthen the brand image of your company and reduce supply chain costs. At the end of the day, you don’t need to have superpowers to become an eco-friendly shipper. There are numerous ways to join the green initiative, from small steps to greater efforts.
How can small businesses support green shipping?
There is always a way to ship more efficiently. One of the ways, in particular, is load consolidation and pool distribution. These are common practices in the shipping industry that let you move more products while using less truck space. Efficient route planning will help even more. 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. Is your packing recyclable? 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 small changes count. If more companies will start utilizing eco-friendly packaging, it will help change the big picture.
There are many projects like Sustainable Packaging Coalition, that can help your business with becoming an eco-friendly shipper by using recyclable materials. These collaborations can be very beneficial for your brand presence as well as for the environment.
Using technology and eliminating paper use
Although going digital seems pretty obvious in 2019, 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 the U.S. office paper use was eliminated 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 not only reduce your paper use but will let you save on the entire logistics department. The increased visibility can enhance a company’s productivity and eliminate unnecessary operations. New technology for trucks includes network controlled engines, temperature control, and tracking of the truck condition.
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.
Activities 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 can you 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.
At the end of the day, 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!