Being Green in Transportation without Sacrificing Business Goals

Being green in transportation can reduce an organizations carbon footprint through simple measures.

It’s easy for shippers to say they want to be green, but making the changes and sacrifices required to reduce carbon footprint is another thing. Focusing on sustainability and being green in transportation sometimes creates trade-offs that could negatively impact the business and customers, such as longer shipping times or higher costs.

It can be like an uphill battle to make these kinds of tradeoffs without quantitative information to back them up. Clear visibility and planning can lead to achieving many green goals while meeting delivery requirements and saving money. Yes, it’s possible.

In this blog, we examine what “being green” in your transportation means and discuss the scope of emissions affecting your supply chain. Learn the connection between sustainability and last mile logistics, as well as green supply chain practices that allow you to manage your carbon footprint and protect profitability.

5 Aspects of Being Green

Here are five focus areas for being green in the transportation industry:

1. Regulatory Standards: Specific regulatory standards are beginning to take on specific attributes in the SEC climate disclosure guidelines proposal. These fall under Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG):

  • Environmental: Energy use, waste.
  • Social: Worker’s rights, issues.
  • Governance: Corporate policies, procedures, ethics.
For many organizations, ESG initiatives stall when transportation costs climb.

2. Circular Economy (Circularity): Organizations can create a full life cycle that is truly cyclical out of:

  • Raw materials
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Return
  • Recycle/reuse

3. Sustainability: This can be achieved in transportation by optimizing for rate, mode, service, and route.

4. Scope Emissions: Businesses should know the distinctions between scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

5. Compliance: Existing laws and regulations help rein in supply chain practices to meet current standards.

Know the Scope of Emissions

Doing nothing about scope emissions could damage a business’s reputation and brand in time. Focusing on supply chain carbon emissions promotes a change toward being more environmentally friendly.

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from sources the company owns or controls.
  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from energy sources.
  • Scope 3: Indirect emissions coming from the value chain.
Transportation of materials and products becomes a Scope 3 emission as the company does not own these emissions, but its business contributes to them. It’s important to consider this contribution and how to lower it.
Addressing changes directly is possible; another element is the customer. Companies can inform the customers and let them choose a preferred alternative, such as between a speedy low-cost service and a longer wait for delivery that is more environmentally friendly.
It is critical for companies to report quantitative metrics on how they are reducing Scope 3 emissions. Using modern tools to measure carbon impact and emissions savings is possible. Start measuring these metrics as early as possible, including miles traveled, types of vehicles, mode, and emissions per mile by code, carrier, and the like.

The Impact of Transportation and Last Mile

The transportation sector is the main contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions are expected to increase with the evolution of online shopping habits.
Challenges include last mile delivery and a large percentage of empty trucks worldwide contributing to zero-value emissions.

Green Supply Chain Best Practices

Here are supply chain best practices that contribute to being green in transportation and across your networks:
  • Optimize processes.
  • Consider processes before fulfillment.
  • Improve Inflight/Final Mile.
  • Consolidate within the company.
  • Consolidate with other companies.
  • Zone skip.
  • Choose optimal modes and services for each shipment.
  • Digitize processes.
  • Plan all shipment types concurrently and leverage external shipments.
  • Select modes and equipment with lower emissions.

Technology Supports Saving Money and Being Green in Transportation

Technology makes finding the best routes and rates to meet delivery commitments easier while saving money. It also helps companies reduce empty miles through steps like shippers collaborating. Technology can be automated to carry out these steps, while people can adjust it as needed.

Even small changes can make a large difference at a systematic level. For instance, digital freight brokers can provide backhauls for capacity that reduces empty miles. Also, affordable fuel control software per truck can create large fuel savings company-wide annually.

Leveraging a TMS to Be Greener and More Profitable

A transportation management system (TMS) like MercuryGate provides technology that makes it easier for companies to improve their sustainable transportation practices while saving money. MercuryGate’s TMS can help with these capabilities:

  • Optimize and plan the network before the fulfillment.
  • Consolidate shipments.
  • Zone skip.
  • Find the optimal mode.
  • Digitize.
  • Plan inbound, shuttle, and outbound concurrently.
  • Plan for the lowest emissions.
  • Optimize the first and final mile.
  • Improve multiple scope levels, including Scope 3.
  • Measure impacts.

Calculate your potential Saving While Using an enterprise TMS

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with MercuryGate

Reducing the overall carbon footprint is challenging, but transportation is a significant contributor to supply chain emissions and an important area to focus on.

While being green in transportation is a challenge, it’s not impossible. Some ways to initiate change are to work with digital freight providers, quantify the impact and find ways to reduce it, and optimize processes.
MercuryGate’s TMS can help businesses measure, quantify, and realize CO2 goals and cost savings. It can provide visibility to reduce empty miles.
Discover how to leverage MercuryGate TMS and Final Mile solutions to achieve your green transportation goals and sustainability initiatives. Watch this webinar on-demand featuring John Martin and Greg Confer as they discuss topics including:
  • Selecting the right carrier.
  • Finding operational efficiencies such as cross-docking and backhauls.
  • Leveraging optimization capabilities to compare modes.
  • Making real-time adjustments to optimize assets and drivers.

Small changes can make a big difference. Watch the webinar to learn more about the achievable, measurable changes you can make.

Learn how a TMS can empower greener transportation.


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