Sustainable Supply Chain

Many companies are looking to the future of their logistics practices in order to achieve a more sustainable supply chain.

There are several benefits to a proactive environmental policy. On the face of it, the main benefit would be to the environment. However, this can be leveraged as a promotional tool. A company that has green credentials is arguably more attractive to a customer or investor.

The very fact that the company addresses environmental concerns at any level, is a sign of proactiveness. To have a basic environmental policy is one thing, but a concerted effort to improve the carbon footprint can be great for the corporate image.

However, it is usually the case that improvements to efficiency and a good recycling regime generate savings financially as well as ecologically. A buzzword in the last decade or so has been ‘carbon footprint’. To a certain extent, every business has a carbon footprint that cannot be eliminated. The challenge is to make efficiency savings that do not sacrifice the performance and marketability of that business.

So how can companies improve their environmental impact to reflect a sustainable supply chain, in an industry characterised by machines and vehicles? Diesel has been upheld as a better fuel choice for heavy-use vehicles. However, their high efficiency is arguably outweighed by the increase in pollutants. Alternative fuels are now becoming available whose only emission is water vapour. This is expensive to implement, but cost savings across the lifespan of the vehicle are enough to make Hydrogen Fuel Cells a viable alternative to diesel in HGVs.


As well as reviewing your own practices to ensure your waste and emissions are under control, it is also important to look at your suppliers and customers. Strategic allegiance can bring great success in any form, but you can make a statement by aligning the company with suppliers whose green credentials exceed your own.

It can be a little disruptive if one company makes great leaps in ecological practice, only for that work to be nullified by a business partner. Many organisations are developing broader plans to implement industry-wide improvements, and it is often taxation that proves to be the difference in whether sustainable supply chain proposals are followed.

For more information on the environmental policy of the Freight Transport Association, click here.

Sustainable Supply Chain Earth