Doing our Part to Support Sustainability

Doing our Part to Support Sustainability

By Brian Tu, Chief Revenue Officer of DCL Logistics

 

The need for businesses to adopt environmentally conscience processes continues to accelerate. It’s no mystery that the shipping industry is one of the largest sources of global pollution. At DCL Logistics we take our corporate responsibility to minimize our impact on the environment very seriously. We understand our role in the supply chain and have adopted renewable energy sources and use environmentally friendly materials.  

As a service provider we also understand that consumers are using their buying power to hold businesses accountable to green upgrades. In a 2018 Nielsen survey a staggering 81% of consumers felt strongly that companies and brands they are considering buying from should help the environment. At DCL we ensure our customers stay competitive in the market by providing these sustainable practices. 

 

Focus on renewable energy

In 2007, we installed our first solar system at the DCL Logistics headquarters in Fremont, California. The 287 KW system was the largest commercial installation in the area at the time. It was one of our first structural steps towards our commitment to renewable energy. 

We have since installed a 220 KW and 350 KW solar systems at our second Fremont facility and Los Angeles facility, respectively. In December of this year, we’re set to go live with our largest installation, a 400 KW system, in our brand new, start-of-the-art facility in Louisville, Kentucky.

By the end of 2019, we’ll have a total of 1,257 KW systems powering four of the five DCL Logistics facilities in the US.

To augment our ability to generate our own power, we’ve implemented a number of different initiatives to reduce our energy consumption. All of our warehouses are illuminated with skylights reducing our need to run lights during the daytime—the lights we do have to run are all  energy efficient LED. In addition, 100% of our forklifts are electric and are charged by our solar systems when idle.

By building a sizable solar system and designing our facilities to consume less energy, we estimate we will offset our energy requirements by 85%.

 

 

Recycling and eliminating waste

We’re currently shipping upwards of 30K packages per day, seven days a week. As our shipment volume has steadily increased, we have made a concerted effort to eliminate waste and rely on environmentally friendly materials, as we know moderate improvements can go a long way. 

Our process starts with our individual customers and their specific order requirements. We partner with each company to design the shipping boxes to fit the size of the product as closely as possible. We advocate for the removal, or at least reduction of the size of the packing slips, and the use of compostable air fillers instead of paper or plastic. We estimate by taking these steps, we can reduce our waste by as much as 20% on a per order basis.

From a facilities standpoint, we have strict environmental guidelines that each of our facilities is required to follow. While we can’t single-handedly eliminate the use of packaging, we can certainly create a standard of sustainable and recyclable materials. We primarily source recycled and compostable packing materials, including corrugated boxes, shrink wrap and biodegradable packing bags. And of course we recycle the used corrugate in all of our facilities. In addition, we strive to maintain eco-friendly facilities by using low-flow toilets and drought tolerant landscaping.

 

Looking ahead

As companies within the supply chain have started to recognize their responsibility as it pertains to the environment, they have spent more time and energy on developing corporate initiatives and investing in technology to minimize their long-term impact. 

While there are many aspects of supply chain logistics that are affected, this movement is pushing the development of ground transportation using renewable energy and autonomous driving, from long-haul semis to local delivery trucks. Once these vehicles start to replace existing fleets, the impact will have a ripple effect on the cost and environmental impact of the industry. 

For example, it’s estimated that the soon-to-be-release Tesla Semi Truck will cost $150,000 to $170,000, 20% more than a standard diesel semi truck. However, the electric semi truck is estimated to cost $.26 per mile to operate, 50% less than a diesel semi truck.  Not only will electric semi truck be cheaper to own and operate over its lifetime compared to a diesel truck, that truck will produce zero emissions. Companies like Tesla, Nikola Motors, and Google (Waymo) have invested billions to make this a reality.

Deliveries via drone will also be common soon as a few companies have already started to roll out drone delivery services in select areas while many more are testing their commercial viability. Wing Aviation, a Google subsidiary, became the first drone operator to receive approval by the FAA to begin delivering products to actual customers. The hope is this will help contribute to a reduction in motor traffic and carbon emissions.

At DCL we are always looking to adopt improvements and innovate, for our clients and for the industry overall. We’re investing heavily in automation to improve our overall operational efficiency and leverage the renewable energy our solar panels are producing. For example, we are underway on a revolutionary robot project to fully automate our B2C order picking and shipping with the goal to not only reduce our manpower in this functional area by 75% but also reduce our power consumption by a considerable amount.

 

 

Finally, we’re pushing to align ourselves with partners who have demonstrated and share the same values and commitment to environmentally sustainable practices. Partners like Flexport, a freight forwarding company, has been changing the way we think about shipping by providing tools to help companies track and measure their carbon footprint and streamlining ways for their customers to participate in non-profit climate solutions.

We’re committed to continue building on our environmental initiatives. We believe that any improvements we can make, regardless of how small, can make a long-term substantial impact on our environment and encourage others in our industry to follow.