Championing A Greener Mindset: A Case Study

Norman Dulwich considers the importance of achieving a change in a company’s mindset.

Green practices in logistics management processes have been something of a favourite topic of thought for me recently. We’re all familiar with terms such as ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘greenhouse gas emissions’, but how often do we actually translate thought into action? And how often does that action last?

If you’re looking for your company to be bold and go green permanently, then this case study, featuring a British supplier of time-pressured solutions for emergency scenarios, will hopefully provide the impetus for you to achieve radical, long-term change. In 2013, they were given ISO 14001:2004 certification for Environmental Management in recognition of their efforts. What can your company achieve? 

Company-Wide Change

Instead of enforcing a top-down policy on the rest of the company, the logistics management team decided to involve the entire workforce in the project by establishing an Environmental Management group and by creating ‘Green Champions’, who represented individual departments and encouraged internal eco-friendly measures. The Environmental Management group was tasked with pinpointing issues and coming up with ways to achieve their objectives. 

A new, cloud-based transport management system was just one measure the group implemented. Introduced across the entire company, this digitisation minimised the quantity of letters and telephone calls required and promoted reduction in waste and energy consumption. 

This approach paid rich dividends, as can be seen from these 2014 statistics: 

•65% reduction in postage

•40% reduction in printing

•37% fall in gas consumption

•20% fall in waste sent to landfill

•20% reduction in electricity use

•19% reduction in total waste

•7% fall in water use 

Cutting Empty Mileage

Empty mileage is certainly a bugbear for those in control of logistics; management in this company deployed an in-house platform that not only cut down on empty mileage, but that also increased the frequency of return loads. In addition, a vehicle replacement scheme saw the introduction of a new fleet that had greater fuel efficiency and emitted less CO2, as confirmed by their emissions monitoring programme. 

A cornerstone of this company’s emissions strategy was to maximise their use of road wherever possible and to avoid air freight and Channel ferry services. Such steps were vindicated when Eurotunnel stated in 2014 that the company had saved just under 750 tonnes of CO2 by using their services. By making a strategic decision that focused on its long-term advantages, substantial benefits were achieved for the company and the environment. 

What I really like about this example is that it shows that going green isn’t just about cutting CO2 emissions and substituting one piece of technology for another; it’s also about achieving the trickier goal of creating a cultural shift within the company that informs the actions of employees for years to come. Don’t be afraid of opening up this challenge beyond the logistics management team. By involving staff at all levels, you give yourself a much greater chance of seeing your carefully laid plans become enduring additions to your company’s culture.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange is the leading service for matching haulage jobs with available vehicles. They also provide expert articles on logistics management in the freight industry and other related topics. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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