World Environment Day and what it means to the logistics industry
June 5 is World Environment Day 2021 and many companies, large and small, are reminded of their obligation to build a sustainable future. We have taken this opportunity to reflect on our position in the logistics industry and what role we might play over the next important few years.
As a provider of time-critical logistics, the key driver for many of our clients is time. Often this means via air transport but the exceptional circumstances that make this necessary, and the resulting impact on the environment, are outweighed by the costs to life, employment or business continuity that the alternative would bring. The critical role air cargo played during the Coronavirus pandemic is a case in point. Without the timely transport of medical supplies, PPE and people during the past year, the virus would have had an even more severe impact in many countries.
By its very nature, Priority Freight’s daily operations have inevitable environmental impacts. What is important is that we identify opportunities to deliver a net positive impact on the environment where possible whilst still providing the fastest, most cost-effective and reliable door-to-door logistics solutions to our clients. We continually monitor and report our CO2 emissions and work closely with our suppliers to minimise our carbon footprint. We fulfil more shipments by road than by air and have agreed a vehicle replacement process with carriers to ensure the use of Euro IV+ fleets. We will welcome the use of electric fleets as soon as their range and charge times can support our time-critical business model.
We have a duty to meet our clients’ needs and, while their priority is time, we will continue to provide time-efficient solutions, whatever these may be. So, does the responsibility for reducing environmental footprints lay with the providers of the modes of transport? We believe it is a collective effort. The climate crisis feels too big a problem to tackle alone, and all companies and individuals can play their part by taking control of the elements they can and pushing for change in the elements they can’t.
Minimising our impact goes further than just using ‘greener’ modes of transport. The recent ‘Air Cargo Sustainability Report’ states that only 57% of companies have a team dedicated to sustainability practices; we are proud to say we are one of them. Our Environmental Committee has implemented simple and effective methods to reduce our overall emissions and educate and train staff on the role they can play in this. Wherever the company controls an environmental aspect, we act to reduce its impact and have been ISO14001 certified since 2013.
No waste goes to landfill at our Head Office in Dover – it is compressed into cubes and taken to a treatment centre where it becomes secondary raw materials for industry. Unless the law dictates a hard copy is necessary, we now run entirely paperless offices and our printing output is a fifth of what it was three years ago. Video conferencing, shared vehicles and halfway meetings all help to reduce emissions. Additionally, we have developed a cloud-based transportation management system that links with clients’ ERP systems to ensure a cohesive strategy between both parties from the start, maximising optimisation efficiencies and reducing wastage.
We put a great deal of expertise and effort into monitoring and minimising our environmental impact and welcome the UK Government’s aim to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050. As many governments introduce fiscal and legislative obligations alongside the obvious moral obligation, it is a step-change welcomed by the many sectors trying to regulate this complex concern.