Every business requires logistics – at first glance, it may seem that there’s little you can do to make the process of freight shipping and individual delivery more environmentally friendly. However, whether a greener delivery strategy is a socially responsible goal for your business or something your customers are beginning to ask about, there are some simple steps you can take to achieve this.
1. Source environmentally friendly packaging
Particularly if your business uses a lot of packaging, the more environmentally friendly it is the bigger the impact this will make to the green credentials of your delivery strategy. Look for packaging that has come from recycled materials or boxes made with the pulp of trees from sustainably managed forests. If your packaging can be reused or is compostable then you’re avoiding adding to landfill.
2. Opt for biodegradable protection
Packaging is not the only component that presents the opportunity to be more environmentally friendly – so too does the filler in the boxes. Bubble wrap and packing peanuts are fairly outdated now for those seeking eco solutions. There are plenty of other options that will still provide protection for items inside without incorporating plastics and chemicals into the process. Some companies now use popcorn as a biodegradable filler material, for example.
3. Use low emission shipping companies
A quick search online will usually bring up your local choices in terms of data on low-emission transportation companies. These companies are monitored and checked for their performance in terms of low emission shipping. Although delivery is always going to create some kind of impact on the natural world, you can minimise this by choosing a shipping company where low emissions are a priority.
4. Rework your dimensions
Simple, snug packaging that only uses what’s need to protect and transport items can have a big impact on your business’ green credentials. Smaller packages are less wasteful and take up less room during transport, meaning larger volumes can be transported in a smaller space – better for the environment and for your margins too.
5. Look into your offset options
There are a number of schemes that enable businesses to offset a carbon footprint with credits to try and make deliveries carbon neutral. For example, there are some schemes that add a little more on to the cost of the delivery and funnel the extra cash towards environmental schemes, such as supporting renewable energy projects.
6. Make sure you have an efficient returns infrastructure
Returning products can be wasteful, especially if the return is followed by a replacement, as this doubles the logistics impact on the environment. So, it’s important to have a returns system in place that minimises environmental impact. Could you group products together to ship back from overseas, for example? And might it be less wasteful, for lower value items, to simply send out a new one without asking the customer to return the old?
7. Get your deliveries picked up
Rather than making a journey to drop your items off with a shipper, schedule them to be picked up instead. That way, the pick up is part of a route that also includes many other businesses and isn’t a single, wasteful journey.
If you’d like some advice on how to make your deliveries more environmentally friendly we can help – contact UCS today to find out more.