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The Unique Role of Logistics Operations in Sustainability

by Mary Rooney | Oct 03, 2022

Supply chain sustainability helps companies save money, strengthen business relationships and benefit the environment. According to an August 2022 CSCMP publication, logistics organizations are in a unique position to embrace a leadership role in sustainability for three key reasons.

  • Impact: Collectively, logistics organizations have the opportunity to move the needle on metrics such as CO2 emissions and the adoption of climate-neutral initiatives. The nature of transport means there’s a built-in environmental footprint, and sustainable changes can yield positive results more quickly than in many other industries.

  • Connection: Logistics organizations connect companies and industries around the world. The pandemic highlighted how connected our global systems are and how a supply chain disruption in one link of the chain cascades across countries and industries. There’s a domino effect - when logistics and transport operations run sustainably and efficiently, it helps other companies and industries follow suit.

  • Network Reach: Logistics organizations are hubs for large stakeholder networks. Stakeholders include customers, business partners, vendors, investors and the communities in which they operate. It also includes thousands of global employees and their families. Sustainable changes have far-reaching effects.

A recent IBM Chief Supply Chain Officer study found supply chain officers ranked sustainability as their third-biggest challenge in the next few years. It noted that 52% placed sustainability at or near the top of their priority list with 50% reporting that their sustainability investments will accelerate business growth. This compared to just 19% ranking sustainability as a top external force in 2019.

Additionally, an EY survey on sustainable supply chain practices found that eight in 10 global supply chain executives are increasing their efforts toward sustainable supply chain operations. The survey results showed supply chains are “sustainability’s new frontier”, being the “core activators” for enterprise-wide sustainability goals and commitments. Supply chain leaders are looking to reduce risk, increase innovation and generate a stronger return on investment for their sustainable supply chain initiatives. 

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