4 Ways to Make the Supply Chain & Logistics More Environmentally Friendly

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There is no better time to pursue a career in supply chain and logistics. Global businesses are rapidly growing and adapting to consumer demands, needing skilled professionals to help them thrive.

The main issue today is incorporating environmental sustainability into the freight-forwarding field. If you are planning to pursue a career in supply chain and logistics, knowing the environmental ins and outs will put you in a better position to get hired and begin this rewarding path.

Read on to learn the five steps that logistics professionals can take to make supply chains greener.

1. Start Small with Supply Chain Support

Supply chain and logistics professionals are in charge of helping companies manage goods and services locally and around the globe. That’s a lot of responsibility, and a lot of opportunities for going green. Taking small, calculated steps and prioritizing specific operations will help you make your future company as sustainable as possible.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has special analytical tools that can help you assess the environmental impact of a supply chain. There is also a growing industry of technical and strategy-based companies devoted to helping businesses operate sustainably.

It takes energy to save energy! By connecting with these strategic companies, or delegating a “green team” among your employees, you can make real progress toward sustainability one step at a time.

2. Minimize Supply Chain Carbon Emissions

Experts in supply chain & logistics  careers are responsible for coordinating transportation geography and evaluating costs. Clever minds will recognize the transportation process as the costliest link, and the part of the supply process with the most negative environmental impact.

It’s all about managing your supply chain routes in a way that requires the least amount of fuel to be burned.

For example, HP’s supply chain managers have recently made a major change— they’ve created a “Modern Silk Road” by tracing the ancient land trading route to ship electronics from China throughout Europe by train. This costs the company just one-third as much as shipping by plane, and has one-thirtieth the carbon impact!

3. Look for Sustainable Suppliers

When your company is looking to implement green strategies, don’t forget to look up the supply stream. Choosing from a variety of potential suppliers will give you serious purchasing and influencing power.

As a professional putting together an effective freight forwarding system, you will combine this influence with your supply chain and logistics training to encourage suppliers to comply with green criteria—and choose ones that are logistically viable and environmentally sound.

Today’s manufacturing industry sees more and more use of recycled materials and efforts to reduce pollution. Once you’ve locked down a sustainable manufacturer, be sure to let your future customers know. Green features on a label are a great way to help a product sell.

4. Safeguard Your Supply Chain Against Environmental Risks

In recent years, natural disasters and extreme weather conditions have provided serious threats to supply chains around the world. Most official scientific and international governing bodies attribute these changes to the world’s over-dependence on oil and over-production of carbon.

As a supply chain and logistics professional, you will have a key role in both curbing the overuse of fossil fuels in international trade transportation and forecasting to keep your supply chain strong if disaster does strike. The right training program will help you build your best and most safeguarded systems.

Guarding against accidents makes sense financially too:  after the Gulf oil spill disaster, BP—the London-based petroleum company—lost over a third of its market value ($70 billion). Skilled preparation and awareness of environmental risks will be good for both the planet and your pocket!

Are you interested in pursuing a supply chain and logistics career? Visit NAHB for more information or to speak with an advisor.