All you need to know about e-commerce and green logistics

All you need to know about e-commerce and green logistics

Discover our complete guide to green logistics: what is it? How to implement it efficiently? How to make it a growth lever for your e-shop?

Challenges and issues | Green logistics: how and why?

Global warming is a real problem. This phenomenon, which is occurring on a global scale, is directly linked to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). To limit their effects, the French government is encouraging e-commerce companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Among the levers for action, green logistics is high on the list.

What is green logistics?

Green logistics, also known as green logistics or sustainable logistics, refers to a set of actions taken by an organisation to reduce its environmental impact. Resulting of an intense reflection, this ecological approach covers all dimensions and all aspects of the supply chain. This includes :

  • the extraction of raw materials

  • procurement,

  • the design of goods,

  • manufacturing processes,

  • product packaging,

  • delivery,

  • end use by consumers,

  • return flows (packaging and after sales service),

  • end-of-life recycling.

What are its advantages?

Beyond its primary utility, the implementation of a green supply chain has many advantages for e-commerce companies.

Preparing for change

Whether in France, Europe or internationally, environmental legislation is becoming stricter. It is therefore preferable to behave as an eco-responsible leader and to effectively anticipate future regulatory obligations so as not to suffer from them. This proactive approach avoids the painful adjustments and additional costs caused by managing change in a hurry.

Improve your image

E-commerce companies that integrate a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) effort into their supply chain strategy have a competitive advantage. Thanks to the quality and sustainability of their products, they convey a positive, attractive and high-end brand image. These companies, which are better perceived by their customers, business partners and investors, can generate positive recommendations and conquer new markets.

Reducing costs

In economic terms, implementing green logistics leads to lower overall costs, which means lower transport costs, optimised processes and the elimination of all forms of waste.

How to implement it?

Implementing a sustainable and responsible supply chain involves 4 key steps.

Step 1: Measure your impact on the environment

This involves assessing the ecological impact of its supply chain or the environmental footprint of a product in the supply chain. In France, various tools are available to decision-makers to help them reduce their environmental impact. The Bilan Carbone®, developed by Ademe (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), is one of them. This method makes it possible to quantify and prioritise the greenhouse gas emissions caused upstream (suppliers), intra (e-commerce) and downstream (customers).

Step 2: establish concrete actions

Following this diagnosis, it is possible to determine the sources of emissions and to draw up an action plan with relevant reduction targets. Several measures can be proposed. Here are some of them:

  • Changing your energy contract to green electricity (wind, photovoltaic or hydraulic) or biogas;

  • Acquiring or developing WMS (Warehouse Management System) software to optimise stock management;

  • Develop a responsible sourcing strategy by favouring regional or national sourcing;

  • Rationalise the weight and volume of its packaging;

  • Use recycled or recyclable materials;

  • Renovate its warehouses according to HQE (High Environmental Quality) certification;

  • Pooling means of transport to increase the fill rate of trucks and reduce urban congestion;

  • Optimise last-mile delivery (application of a carbon tax to offset the cost of delivery, use of relay points, etc.);

  • Combine green and reverse logistics to improve the flow of returned goods;

  • Review its waste management policy.

Note: to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of these measures, it is necessary to raise awareness of energy and climate issues among all stakeholders in the logistics chain (employees, suppliers, etc.).

Step 3: Monitor performance

The next step is to evaluate the performance of the actions implemented. The voluntary standard NF EN ISO 14031 recommends the use of three types of indicators: ECI, MPI and EPI.

Environmental condition indicators (ECIs) enable companies to measure the ecological impact of their activities.

They include, for example

  • the level of CO2 emissions per working hour;

  • the weighted average of noise pollution levels within the company's facilities;

  • the concentration of a specific pollutant in the ambient air, measured at specific monitoring points.

Management performance indicators (MPIs) provide information on the achievement of environmental objectives and their compliance with regulations.

Examples include:

  • resources committed to environmental programmes;

  • the number of non-conformities identified by audits;

  • savings achieved through resource reduction, pollution prevention and waste recycling.

Finally, operational performance indicators (OPIs) reflect the environmental performance of a company's operations.

Examples include:

  • total floor space used for production purposes ;

  • the number of daily deliveries for each mode of transport;

  • the amount of waste per year or per unit of product.

Step 4: Share your initiatives

To reap the benefits of green logistics, it is important to communicate the results (Bilan Carbone®, summary of actions taken and future projects, etc.) both internally and externally. These detailed reports can then be used by the press to contribute to the company's image policy.

We are here to advise you!

Do you have an online business and wish to improve certain logistical services in your catalogue or simply take advantage of a service provider's storage space? Whatever your problem, Cubyn is the right partner for you.

Improve yours customer's experience today!

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