4 Ways a 3PL Can Help Build a Sustainable Supply Chain

4 Ways a 3PL Can Help Build a Sustainable Supply Chain

Supply chain sustainability is widely discussed. It’s expected that businesses take responsibility for their impact on the environment. Businesses worldwide are adopting new and more sustainable processes in order to fulfill this corporate responsibility. 

Since many businesses partner with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) it’s imperative that 3PLs  are as environmentally friendly as possible. An expert 3PL is likely to have implemented sustainability initiatives into their operations processes. These may include reducing their transportation carbon footprint, optimizing their waste output, using  recycled and sustainable packaging material, conserving warehouse energy with solar or renewables, and much more. 

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint measures the amount of carbon dioxide being discharged in the environment from burning fuel while transporting goods. Research shows that the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to the increase in global temperatures—the transportation of goods across the globe is a major contributor. This includes trucks, cars, planes, and more. 

A 3PL provider can with customers to develop a credible carbon impact analysis and assist in measuring carbon emissions. They can then assist businesses in increasing the fill rate per transport unit to transport more goods per tank of fuel, deploying bigger capacity vehicles, scheduled maintenance of transport vehicles, and use of greener fuels for transportation vehicles.

Sustainable Transportation

Another approach that has a positive impact on creating a more eco-friendly supply chain is implementing sustainable transportation measures. A 3PL provider ideally has vast experience and can provide strategic transportation operations. They can remove unnecessary legs of transportation. They will have the best oversight to shift transportation from air freight to sea freight‚—by relocating inventory to more optimized locations and applying the most efficient routes for co-loading.

A 3PL may also pass on the benefits of working with greener carriers that continuously focus on building sustainable transportation solutions. These initiatives tend to reduce costs and align with your goal of building a sustainable supply chain.

Green Packaging

Traditionally, packing materials were not an environmental consideration. The objective was simply to pack products in order to achieve their safe and timely arrival to the final destination. The decision to use eco-friendly packaging material is most often made by the manufacturer in conjunction with the shipper. More recently it’s required that some businesses must pay for the cost of disposing of packaging materials.

There are many ways a 3PL can assist your brand by using optimal, greener, recyclable and sustainably sourced packaging material. Especially if they are packing or repackaging your products,  your 3PL will be responsible for collecting and disposing of the wasted packaging material in an environmentally friendly way. With the rise of ecommerce shipping, it’s important to work with a 3PL that keeps up with environmental regulations, helps lower your packaging and disposal costs, while doing so in a sustainable manner.

Optimize Energy Use in Warehouses

Warehousing operations consume so much energy. They are big structures with lighting and  equipment, IT infrastructure, and many personnel offices too. The energy usage forms a part of any warehouse operational cost and increases the carbon footprint if the right measures aren’t taken.

An experienced 3PL should  understand how their warehouse operations contribute to their environmental impact. Many have implemented sustainable processes including a more energy-efficient floor design, solar panels or other renewable energy sources. They will be able to create greener systems without negatively impacting their performance.

Click Here to Learn How DCL is Doing its Part to Support Sustainability

Bottom Line

Building an environmentally friendly supply chain is a strategic business decision. Many businesses know this and collaborate with a 3PL to incorporate more sustainable initiatives, such as: reducing overall carbon footprint, creating energy-efficient systems, reducing waste, and working with other environmentally conscious industry partners.

If you’re looking for help managing your supply chain and logistics, send us a note to connect about how we can help your company grow. You can read DCL’s list of services to learn more, or check out the many companies we work with to ensure great logistics support.