GOOD QUESTION: What one supply chain adjustment would make the biggest impact on ESG?
Mature your data so you can use it like Google Maps. Sustained ESG marries continuous improvement with reporting and analysis—predicated on trustworthy data. Every company has a different origin, destination, and journey. Equip your organization with dependable navigation skills by building data intelligence and embedding a culture of data-driven action.
Sr. Manager, Sustainability and Digital Manufacturing
Reduce deadhead-related emissions. Using technology and data to identify the most efficient load/carrier/lane match, while meeting service requirements, is a powerful method for mitigating those miles to reduce emissions and drive sustainability.
VP of Data Science
Logistics companies can impact ESG with three key adjustments: avoid empty runs to reduce emissions, decrease yard wait times for driver well-being, and prepare to comply with forthcoming regulations. The transportation sector accounts for approximately 10% of global emissions and is on pace to double.
Chief Marketing Officer
The biggest opportunity is reducing the wait time, or dwell, that drivers spend sitting at shipper docks. That wastes driver hours, and when they’re idling, they waste fuel. While electrification offers benefits, those are down the road. Drivers have 11 available hours they can drive every day, the best average 7 or 8. Reducing driver dwell can have a major impact on emissions reduction and achieving ESG goals.
Companies that ship a large volume of goods can review and adjust their shipping profiles to shorten the distance of travel needed between their goods and end-user delivery. This can be done by reducing the number of shipping zones, i.e., adding an additional distribution center closer to the final destination.
CEO and Co-founder
Adopt order consolidation and load planning. Reducing deliveries and over-the-road miles by transportation providers would deliver multiple benefits, including decreased emissions and expense, increased efficiency, and better profit margins. If you couple this with the electrification of final-mile delivery vehicles, you have a winning combination.
Director of Information and Technology Services
The key to making the most significant impact on ESG is simple but powerful—measuring better and more consistently. Achieving ESG goals requires ethical, authentic, and honest measurement to aligned standards within the industry.
Chief Strategy Officer
Focus on engaging suppliers to measure, report, and ultimately reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Remember, your suppliers’ direct emissions are your indirect (Scope 3) emissions. Engaging suppliers to require their reporting of emissions is a good first start.
Practice Director, Sustainability
Use greener fuel sources like biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells. These alternatives are more expensive than traditional fuels, but many carriers are providing this option already thanks to government incentives and rebates that help mitigate their costs. Making green fuel the standard will require changing the conversation within our organizations from one focused solely on logistics budgets to a broader sustainability discussion.
Senior Director, Global Logistics
Standardization of digital documents like bills of lading and customs filings would go a long way not only in saving paper, but also in providing all key supply chain stakeholders with accurate data that would help them plan more efficiently and make greener shipping choices.
Chief Technology Officer
One clear solution creates the largest impact (20-40% reduction). The greatest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is switching from truckload to intermodal transportation. The reduction in ton-miles is material, and you gain the added cost savings associated with hauling your freight via rail.
SVP & BU President
Avenger Logistics & MODE Enterprise Operations
Transparency would enact the most significant change. Companies tend to lack understanding of their primary suppliers, let alone those farther down the chain. Increased transparency, combined with the wealth of available information used for modeling ESG risks, would provide companies with real, actionable insight.
Global Head, Broking and Broking Strategy
Embrace a digital-first mindset. Many organizations are hesitant to disrupt the status quo and adopt new technologies. But embracing new tech (data analytics, AI, IoT, and more) is the only way to increase transparency, optimize resource usage, reduce waste, and improve efficiency in today’s fast-paced environment.
CEO and Founder
Switching to sustainable materials and packaging not only has an immediate environmental impact, but also addresses the expectations of various stakeholders, customers, and regulators. To initiate this shift, companies must first gather information on sourcing processes and integrating sustainability considerations into sourcing scores and decision-making for materially relevant supplier types.
Principal Lead, Sustainability & ESG
Having visibility of cargo shipping costs and the time it will arrive, but also the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In assessing any goods’ overall climate impact, one needs to understand a complete GHG profile from sourcing, to manufacturing, to logistics impact, to use and disposal.
Global VP of Sustainability
Ship your packages via the ground network instead of the express network.
Adjust your mode of transportation. With the supply chain slowly stabilizing, consider moving back from air freight to ocean freight; review if intermodal transport can augment trucking. In terms of carbon emissions, airplanes produce more than 40 times more greenhouse gas per ton mile.
Director, Global Strategy Lead–Transport & Logistics
Eliminating CO2 emissions resulting from shipping goods between locations (e.g. from one retail store to another) due to inaccurate forecasting, will make a big difference. To help advance sustainability, artificial intelligence-based allocation planning can ensure each store’s demand is forecasted by store and item.
Implementing real-time, anonymous feedback tools across all sectors of our supply chain, from truck drivers to warehouse staff, would be transformative for ESG. This approach equips workers with the power to voice their thoughts and issues fearlessly, enriching social sustainability by cultivating a truly inclusive and supportive work environment.
Optimize the supply chain around Scope 3 emissions. Upstream suppliers can be major contributors to positive and negative environmental, social, and governance externalities. By only looking at company direct impacts, an organization may inadvertently pick suppliers that reduce the overall efficiency of the end-to-end supply chain.
Sr. Vice President, Network Optimization Industry Principal
The increased use of modern robotics to automate repetitive tasks can help transform manufacturing into a greener process where emissions are cut, less waste is produced, and more renewable energy sources are used to power the process. It won’t be an overnight transformation, but over time could be realized as long as the industry continues to incorporate environmental considerations as it evolves.
Director of Sales, North America
As a merchant services provider, product and transactional data integrity are essential. Accurate product and transactional information promote optimized packaging, shorter delivery distances, and reduced undeliverable shipments. ESG means expertise in this part of the supply chain, accurately representing products, cleansing addresses, intelligent order routing, and meeting compliance regulations.
VP Product Management
While recycling pallets is not a new concept, the constant sourcing of wood for new pallets is not sustainable. Replacing wood with pallets made of recycled materials such a single-use plastics or other sources that offer the same flexibility and low cost to serve would have a massive environmental impact.
Chief Commercial Officer
Currently many companies are working on building more sustainable supply chains, but with the pace of change we do not yet have standards. As we move forward companies should focus on working together, sharing information, and standardizing measurements. This will lead to both more efficiency and effectiveness in the journey.
VP, Procurement and Supply Chain Management
Inefficient transport creates costly waste that impacts ESG goals. Real-time access to warehouse inventory, shipment status, order status, and carrier updates gives all departments alignment on a single source of truth. With real-time data access, stale data never compromises analytics efforts to support transport efficiency and other ESG efforts.
Senior Technology Evangelist
Reducing “empty miles”—enabling carriers to back-fill trucks/containers/vessels with LTL shipments will massively reduce carbon/kg freight moved, optimize businesses and level the playing field for private fleets.
COO & Co-founder
Investing in route optimization solutions for last-mile operations can have a substantial impact on a company’s ESG performance. By reducing carbon emissions, improving operational efficiency, and achieving cost savings, this adjustment aligns with business growth strategies and environmental goals, and promotes responsible governance practices.
CEO and Founder
Ensuring accurate tracking of their sustainability measures is the first step to success for organizations that are looking to improve their ESG. This quantifies progress and helps ensure initiatives are followed through on. Utilizing solutions, like an ERP system, helps promote visibility in reporting and takes the wait and guesswork out of understanding carbon and emission values. Leveraging this technology can quickly meet a variety of reporting requirements, whether that be company-wide, or down to a specific department, site, or material.
Senior Sales Executive, Manufacturing Division
ECI Software Solutions
Companies need more visibility and transparency into their complete supply chain, from raw materials to finished goods. To achieve this, they must adopt a multi-enterprise platform, which allows businesses to map their supply chains and track chain of custody to ensure no forced labor or environmental abuses were involved at any stage of producing their merchandise.
Sr. Vice President
Efficient transportation strategy is critical to making a big impact on ESG outcomes. By utilizing barcode labeling to get products to customers, companies can see how their goods move through the supply chain and reduce redundancies where applicable. This level of insight gives companies the ability to make changes that can improve efficiency and reduce energy use.
Brother Mobile Solutions
Optimizing every freight shipment based on supply and demand, with unlimited vehicle types.
Director of Partnerships
Information is power, and the biggest gap in supply chain ESG support is the lack of it. Having tools to allow supply chain managers to easily track, monitor, and assess emissions, people impact, and ethical compliance would enable a world of optionality that just isn’t there today.
Many supply chains are focused on ESG initiatives as they navigate technological advancements and the changing marketplace dynamics. However, one effort that often goes unnoticed is employee education and engagement to better leverage human ingenuity in existing supply chain functions – allowing for further advancement of sustainability initiatives.
Vice President of Supply Chain Solutions
Optimize load routing and eliminate empty miles. When shippers source the right truck for individual loads and track its route, carbon emissions decrease for a healthier environment. The implementation of EV and hydrogen infrastructure across North America is also on the horizon, but not fully at scale yet.
Chief Human Resource Officer
Tracking carbon emissions with advanced, cutting-edge technologies allows shippers to understand the true impact of their individual supply chain. Once accurate measurements are available, shippers can analyze the data findings and create goals that improve supply chain processes and reduce their carbon footprint.
Traditionally, cost reduction has guided supply chain decisions. As a result, CO2 emissions, fair trade tracking, and environmental risk metrics are one-offs for many organizations. If organizations weigh these ESG elements alongside cost, service, and risk, they create a sustainability mindset in the organization and become part of everyday decision-making.
VP Business Development
Increased visibility. Fresh is one of most difficult sectors for companies to manage. By optimizing supply chain planning and making data more visible, retailers can bring certainty into the process. The result is a smaller carbon footprint for transportation and reduced food waste from spoilage.
Head of Sustainability
Implementing sustainable transportation methods, such as electric or hybrid vehicles, optimizing routing, and embracing alternative fuels, would have the most significant impact on ESG. This adjustment reduces carbon emissions, promotes environmental stewardship, and aligns with global sustainability efforts. It also enhances social welfare by improving road safety and reducing congestion, all contributing to a greener future.
While one could easily argue that improved working conditions for warehouse workers would have a significant social impact, transportation globally, from ocean to truck freight, contributes measurably to greenhouse gas emissions. The most impactful change would be to electrify (with renewable energy) the transportation of goods through the supply chain.
CLDA Member, VP for Sustainability Solutions
Real-time product level visibility – of location and its current ecological impact, like carbon footprint. Enabling buyers or even end users to see authenticity and origination. This would allow for rapid identification of opportunities to reduce and remove emissions in the supply chain. If we can build a fast feedback loop we can finally operationalize sustainability.
VP Climate & Circularity