The world of eCommerce is changing.
Whether you’re shipping goods to your customers or you’re the customer looking for a quick delivery, it can feel like any day now that something will change—and it might.
If you’re in an eCommerce business, it already has: from fleets of cargo planes growing larger and more efficient to drones soaring through the skies as a replacement for bike carriers on the ground and from delivery trucks weaving through city streets in hectic routes to keep up with demand.
But how did this all come about? Why does it matter? And what does this mean for your business if you want to stay ahead of the curve?
We’re more than halfway to the $5.4 trillion eCommerce world by 2022 and only growing. Expedited shipping and last-mile delivery are essential elements of the eCommerce economy.
In light of the growing importance of eCommerce in the world economy, it’s imperative to consider an alternative to carbon-intensive shipping methods such as air and ocean freight. Such methods contrast our shared values of environmental sustainability. This isn’t just bad for the environment; it’s bad for business.
In this post, you will learn about some of the strategies shipping companies are pursuing in carbon-neutral shipping and what that could mean for the future.
What Is Carbon-Neutral Shipping?
The 2014 Third IMO GHG Study estimated that for 2007-2012, shipping emitted about 1,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per year, equaling approximately 3.1 percent of annual global CO2 emissions. The latest update from CE Delft projects shipping emissions to increase by up to 120% by 2050 if other sectors decarbonize effectively.
Carbon-neutral shipping refers to businesses’ efforts to reduce their carbon emissions. This encompasses each business’s strategies for reducing transportation-related carbon emissions, such as using environmentally friendly packaging or transporting goods to minimize the environmental impact.
Why Are More Companies Switching to Carbon Neutral Shipping?
In 2021, the world was gripped by a worldwide pandemic. As a result, supply chain disruptions were widespread, but companies took steps toward a decarbonized and sustainable global supply chain.
The demand for green transport has been growing, and with it, so has the market for carbon-neutral ships. With this in mind, shipowners and companies invest in vessels ready to meet or exceed their 2020 targets.
The industry is expecting this trend to continue into 2023 and even accelerate. All container lines now stand firmly behind a net-zero target of 2050 shows how important it is for businesses to make progress now instead of waiting until later.
Why it is Essential to consider Carbon-Neutral Shipping?
If you’re an eCommerce business owner, shipping is a big part of your business. And if you want to be more environmentally conscious, carbon-neutral shipping is the way to go. Here’s why—and how carbon-neutral shipping can prove advantageous to your eCommerce business.
Customers Are Looking For Sustainable Brands
75% of customers are willing to pay up to 10 percent extra when they buy products that align with their values.
When you’re in the market for a new pair of jeans, why would you buy something not made from organic cotton? Or wouldn’t you feel good about wearing a t-shirt made from recycled materials? And what about choosing a product that’s been made without child labor or exploitation of animals?
Customers want these things because they know it’s the right thing to do—and because they know it makes their lives better.
Reduces Inefficient Deliveries
When you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, implementing carbon-neutral shipping isn’t just good for the environment—it can also improve business productivity.
When companies implement a carbon-neutral shipping program, they can reduce energy consumption by huge percentages. This saves organizations money on their electricity bills, fuel costs, and packaging costs associated with delivering goods to customers.
Safeguards Our Planet
Protecting the environment by reducing carbon emissions is one of the smartest ways to protect your business. By doing so, you’re lessening your company’s carbon footprint on the planet and helping it to grow into a successful and sustainable enterprise.
How to Achieve Carbon-Neutral Shipping
The world has become aware of the seriousness of carbon emissions, and companies are starting to take action. With these steps, you’ll be on your way to achieving carbon-neutral shipping.
Step 1: Measure your carbon footprint
If you want to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, you must first identify which sources cause it. By measuring how electricity and gas are used, you can identify where emissions have come from and determine how to reduce them.
To begin curbing your business’s emissions, you’ll first need to identify where your company’s emissions are coming from. Next, assess your energy bills to determine how much energy your business uses. Finally, you must collect data about your supply chain to calculate your carbon footprint. This will include how far products travel and how much energy is used to produce them. Once you have gathered all this data, you can consult a specialist to help determine the carbon emissions produced by your energy usage. Or, you can use the EPA’s free carbon emission calculator to convert the data yourself.
Step 2: Use biodegradable packaging materials
Your packaging greatly impacts your carbon footprint, and most companies don’t even account for it when they calculate their carbon footprint. Many shipping supplies are made from recycled materials, but they often end up in landfills. There are also many non-recyclable materials like styrofoam and plastic that make it into our oceans and waterways.
Keep in mind that even if you do not package your company mailings, instead, send them through a third-party organization. In that case, emissions from that organization will be factored into your overall carbon footprint. So, do some research on your own before partnering with a 3PL company for your shipping needs. It is better to make sure that they are also going green.
If you want to help the environment but still ensure that your customers get their orders exactly when they need them, consider using reusable shipping supplies instead of non-recyclable plastic. Investing in recyclable and biodegradable materials can be a good way to reduce waste. Some examples of these materials are:
- Corn Starch
- Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
- Water Soluble Plastic
- Organic Fabric
- Acid-Free Tissue Paper
- Kraft Paper
These materials may be a huge initial financial investment for a shipping company or 3PL, but they will likely be more cost-effective in the long term.
Step 3: Optimise Warehouse Efficiency
The first step to improving the energy efficiency of your warehouse is to conduct an audit of your warehouse and operating practices. This will give you insight into how much energy you’re using and what it’s used for. The second step is to check the energy bills and evaluate the structure of your physical warehouse—specifically, what parts of the building can impact its energy usage, like how much heat escapes through doors and windows.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you can implement any necessary changes to improve your energy efficiency. For example, if you are using old or inefficient lighting fixtures, you can install new ones that use less electricity. Or, if you have an outdated HVAC system, consider upgrading it to use less energy.
Step 4: Optimise Transportation Practices
The eCommerce boom has created a new challenge: reducing the number of delivery vehicles. Unfortunately, the number of eCommerce delivery vehicles is growing at an alarming rate. This trend is troubling because it contributes to climate change and air pollution, which are already causing serious health problems in many cities around the world. The World Economic Forum predicts a 32% increase in CO2 emissions in the next decade in case businesses don’t change their transportation practices.
By switching to green transportation, you can help curb the impacts of your transport and delivery. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to purchase energy-efficient vehicles. However, this option is expensive. A better solution is to cut back on the mileage you drive by using route optimization to reduce mileage and lower your overall fuel consumption.
Companies that are Adopting Carbon-Neutral Shipping
The logistics industry, which creates massive carbon emissions, negatively impacts the environment. But some delivery services companies are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and supporting a cleaner world by offering eco-friendly options. Here they are:
DHL plans to cut local air pollution by 70% and greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2025. The company also aims to cut down all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050.
- Its services include carbon offsetting, which helps mitigate climate change’s effects.
- The company also invests in environmentally friendly projects to offset its carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases.
- It also guides how to make your packaging, recycling, and storage systems more energy-efficient.
DPD is on a mission to become the world’s first carbon-neutral parcel delivery service. The company has already achieved 100% carbon-neutral parcel delivery across Europe, and it’s working toward achieving zero emissions by 2035.
The company attempts to offset its carbon emissions by collaborating with EcoAct, an environmental group that researches and analyses its carbon performance. It also funds renewable energy projects throughout India, Turkey, and Europe.
To boost its sustainability efforts, FedEx has set a goal to boost the fuel efficiency of its vehicles by 50% by 2025. That represents a 41% improvement since 2005.
- FedEx Express uses carbon-neutral shipping envelopes. The company works with a not-for-profit offset provider that replaces, reduces, and neutralizes carbon for every envelope.
- FedEx Electronic Trade Documents reduce the need for printed copies of trade documents, thereby reducing the environmental impact.
- FedEx packaging is made from a wide variety of recyclable materials, which gives it a green-friendly reputation.
UPS offers the option of purchasing carbon offsets to help mitigate the environmental impact of its emissions. The carbon-neutral option used by UPS is verified by SGS, an inspection, and verification company that offers one of the most reliable systems for carbon offsets.
The Future of Logistics: Eco-Friendly
In the future, we can expect several innovations in emerging technology to lead the way.
Advanced AI for Logistics
Logistics software is rapidly becoming necessary for every company to ensure efficient delivery routes, which would allow for the optimization of services based on traffic patterns, weather conditions, and other considerations.
Electric vehicles are already on the rise, and we can imagine that they will be used as an efficient means of shipping soon. That will dramatically reduce carbon emissions from combustion engines, if not eliminate them.
Quality Fumigation Warehousing
Many latest innovations will focus on reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact, whether it be trucks, routes, or facilities themselves. Federal regulations may even stipulate the types of packaging and waste produced by shipping facilities, prompting managers to pursue sustainable practices at every level of the shipping process.
Ultimately, leaving a clean and sustainable planet for future generations is the motivation that should drive all sustainable actions of our generation. With carbon-neutral innovations, we can make that happen. Are you ready to do your part?
Courier aggregators like NimbusPost can help you optimize and optimise your logistics operations, leading to the expansion and growth of your company. It is a technologically advanced and seller-centric logistics platform. To bring India’s most reputable 27+ national, local, and international courier partners together, it has created a shipping platform tailored to large and small businesses businesses demands.