Posts tagged ‘supply chain’

Thoughts About the Shipping Industry – How to Get Some Green in There

Recently we’ve spoken about the contexts of disposable bags and disposable water bottles.  We also spoke in our recent product post, Turn Your Laundry Green, about how Dropps literally lightens the load for the shipping industry, thus lowering all sorts of Green antagonists – exhaust, fuel waste, wear/tear on automobile parts (necessitating more car parts/waste of former parts), et cetera…  So in this post we’re going to touch upon a related topic that will probably span a few posts – the shipping part of the supply chain and how it relates to being eco-conscious.  Over time we want to talk about the many individual parts of the supply chain and how to make them Green.

The purposes for businesses to Green their fleet are multiple.  Let’s talk straight first – it SAVES MONEY, and businesses have that responsibility to their share holders.  However, when Wall Street closes, the environment doesn’t…  So, okay, the piggy bank is plump, let’s focus on the planet that your business needs in order to do any business at all.  One great purpose for diversifying the fleet into fuel efficient machines AND to make the product lighter to reduce multiple forms of waste during shipping is to have LESS of an impact on the surrounding environment.  This is more than good public relations – this is an act that proves to surrounding communities (typically comprised of people who work for you) that their quality of life is important.  As well, being innovative in Green ways often leads to efficiency and reduced costs – that builds reputation and a credible business model.

shippingcontainersfbay

Let’s take a look at Executive Order 13423, passed in 2007 (doesn’t it sound ominous?)  Truth is, it’s a governmental order for the federal government to get moving on “advancing the nation’s energy security and environmental performance” (you can read all the nitty gritty at this link at the Environmental Protection Agency site).  Essentially, EO 13423 regards a list of 11 areas that federal agencies must reduce waste in, including 1) Vehicles, 2) Energy Efficiency, and 3) Greenhouse Gases.  The order is meant to have federal agencies not only obey stricter laws about waste and pollution in the way they ship items (as well as build, maintain, purchase, et cetera), but, more importantly, to set the example and standard for the private sector.  ecosumo likes to believe that leadership by example will work, and we’re researching to find statistics on the positive effects of EO 13432.  One issue with EO 13432 is that 2015 is the year federal agencies must abide by to change their practices…that’s a bit long in the tooth for our tastes.

Let’s take a look at UPS Green Fleet biz model.  This is the 9th largest business fleet in the world with 282 aircraft and UPS operates the “largest private alternative fuel-fleet in the transportation industry, including hybrid electric and hydraulic hybrid, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, fuel cell, and electric vehicles.”  They optimize the amount of time their auto-fleet is moving by having proprietary software that limits left turns which statistically take longer than right turns.  They even had some of their packaging redesigned to “eliminate bleached paper and increase the use of post-consumer recycled content.”  Check out the link provided at the beginning of this paragraph to read much more about UPS’ initiatives to make themselves a Green company worth emulating.  We’re thinking perhaps the federal government can speed up EO 13423’s effects by consulting with UPS – how about you?

Ultimately, this issues comes down to customers shopping from companies that implement daily business procedures to reduce waste in shipping (and other areas, of course.)  We know you’re busy, but if you have some extra minutes, take a look at the websites of companies you buy products from.  See what they do to reduce waste in the shipping process – and if you don’t see anything, write to their customer service or marketing departments and ask for information about how they reduce waste.  There are more-often-than-not alternative companies that work to reduce waste who are willing to sell you similar products.  We also recommend checking in on the Environmental Protection Agency to see what their doing to make it easier for businesses to go Green.  And if you receive a package from a company that has a box that is way too large for the product and is filled with paper/styrofoam fillers, let the company know in an email (or, even better, on a blog) that you won’t be buying from them anymore unless they change their shipping methods.

shipping-waste

And NEVER forget, you can reduce your shipping waste by 1) buying products online at sites like ecosumo, 2) using reusable bags and bottles, 3) having a reverse osmosis system installed so you don’t have to buy water in bottles anymore, and 4) either riding a bike or carpooling to the market with a friend or neighbor.  If you have feedback about this article or any of the opinions or facts in it, please comment using the blog and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Peace…ecosumo

April 10, 2009 at 11:44 am 1 comment


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