10 Ways to Cut Carbon Emissions in Supply Chains

Cut carbon emissions by improving visibility across your supply chain network.

Even as companies struggle with supply chain challenges, figuring out how to cut carbon emissions in their supply chains remains a top priority. 

It is possible to be “green” in transportation without sacrificing business goals.

To help you optimize your supply chain for sustainability, let’s take a look at where CO2 emissions in supply chains come from and how CO2 emissions are measured. Then we’ll discuss 10 strategies to cut carbon emissions in your supply chain.

How are CO2 Emissions Measured, and Why Does the Transportation Industry Produce So Much?

There’s no way to measure all the CO2 produced by transportation – every truck, ship, and aircraft in the global supply chain. That means figures like “8.26 gigatons of carbon dioxide” are best estimates based on calculations.

Why is the global transportation industry responsible for such a large percentage of C02 emissions? The simple answer is that the transportation industry consumes more fossil fuels than any other industry.

In the future, new technology may continue to reduce or even eliminate this reliance on fossil fuels. In the here and now, companies can cut carbon emissions in their supply chains by focusing on improved efficiency and waste reduction.

How to Cut Carbon Emissions: 10 Strategies to Make Your Supply Chain More Sustainable

Along with helping protect the environment, cutting carbon emissions in your supply chain can position your company as a leader in sustainability at a time when consumers care more about such things.

Best of all, many strategies for reducing your supply chain’s carbon emissions will also improve its overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Here are 10 strategies to cut carbon emissions in your supply chain.
1. Be Transparent

Supply chain visibility is one of the most critical keys to boosting efficiency and reducing waste. When you achieve transparency into the manufacturing, transportation, and storage processes that make up your supply chain, you can more easily identify areas of waste where there is room for carbon-reducing improvements.

2. Share More

According to a 2020 blog from Ryder, 15-25% of trailers on U.S. roads are empty at any given time. Meanwhile, 36% of trailers that are not empty are underutilized. Sharing trailer space via freight pooling is one way to mitigate the excess carbon emission and improve equipment usage. Seeking out backhaul opportunities is another effective strategy to reduce the number of empty trailers your company has on the road.

3. Embrace Unity

Disparate, siloed systems require both time and effort to manage. Unifying them into a single system of record for all shipments will allow your teams to focus on sustainability initiatives. At the same time, they boost the visibility of your supply chain so that you can easily identify opportunities for improvement.

4. Operate Smarter

Automating time-consuming, labor-intensive processes helps make your team more productive, which can help eliminate waste. In addition to making your employees more productive, strategic automation can also help eliminate issues caused by human error that could hinder your sustainability efforts.

5. Engage Experts
If you are trying to formulate a carbon reduction strategy for your company, you don’t have to do it alone. Rely on the experience of your suppliers and partners to crowdsource a carbon reduction strategy that is as effective as possible. Chances are good that your partners and suppliers are just as interested in reducing their carbon emissions. Collaborative strategies create win-win-win scenarios that are beneficial for all involved.
6. Analyze Critically

Identifying opportunities to cut carbon emissions by reducing efficiency first requires you to critically analyze what your data is telling you. For every shipment before, during, and after delivery – including reverse logistics and returns – you should analyze the data available to determine the efficiency of your processes. If you use AI and machine learning to automate this data collection and analysis process, that’s all the better.

7. Pool Resources

Pooling resources between other companies and individual systems within your supply chain is an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions. Solutions such as trailer pools and drop-and-hook loads allow for faster service and better fleet utilization, reducing costs for shippers and carriers alike. At the same time, carbon emissions are minimized across the board.

8. Transform Digitally

Paper waste is not the transportation industry’s most significant source of carbon emissions. It is one of the most accessible CO2 sources to eliminate. By adopting digital documents and sign-on-glass technology, you can completely eliminate paper waste at your company.

9. Think Lean

Lean manufacturing is a business framework designed to help companies create value with fewer resources and less waste. Suppose you’ve done all you can to reduce carbon emissions on the transportation side of your supply chain. In that case, you may be able to cut emissions further by adopting the lean manufacturing framework.

10. Crunch Numbers

Once again, the data your company collects is one of the most important resources for reducing carbon emissions. Analyze metrics for carbon emissions, fuel consumption, and empty miles to find untapped savings and new opportunities for sustainability.

Calculate your potential Saving While Using an enterprise TMS

Reducing Supply Chain Emissions with the Industry’s Leading TMS

Cutting carbon emissions by eliminating waste and inefficiency helps protect the planet while directly boosting your company’s bottom line.

MercuryGate understands the immense importance of striving for improved sustainability. That’s why we’ve designed our industry-leading TMS system to help companies identify data trends in fuel consumption, empty miles, commonly used lanes, and numerous other metrics that can be used to identify opportunities for improved efficiency.

Get more ideas for reducing carbon emissions from our eBook, What You Need to Know About Meaningful Carbon Emissions’ Reductions in Your Supply Chain.

See how data-driven supply chain management reduces carbon emissions.


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