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Logistics has a big role to play in decarbonising retail – here’s how

By Johan Hellman, Vice President, Product & Carrier at nShift

The online shopping experience must become more sustainable. Today’s shoppers consider the environment to be one of their top priorities. What’s more, pressure is growing on multichannel and ecommerce retailers to both track their carbon emissions and show how they intend to reduce them.

Some four out of five shoppers claim to buy from brands with a positive approach to the environment. But that doesn’t mean they are easily impressed by corporate attempts to appear more sustainable. 

In fact, research shows that almost half (49%) of people believe that too many brands align with good causes simply as a publicity stunt. So while attempts to demonstrate eco credentials to consumers can strengthen bonds of loyalty, they can also backfire. 

Shaping a sustainable shipping strategy 

Logistics functions have an important role to play. Marketers can provide the narrative around strategies and aspirations. But logistics is one of the few areas that can have a tangible impact on a company’s progress to net zero.  

In particular, logistics teams can help retailers reduce emissions in the last mile – from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep. By following these four steps, logistics teams can create sustainable shipping strategies which can help the wider business decarbonise. 

  • Step 1: measure emissions from transportation and deliveries – any attempts to lower emissions must be informed by real data. Before deciding how to go about becoming more sustainable, retailers and warehouses must have a clear handle on the status quo. This means obtaining an accurate read on current emissions across the business. 

  • Step 2: create emissions-reduction strategies – once they are aware of their current level of emissions, retailers can set realistic targets and identify quick wins. Ideas to meet that target could include offering more sustainable delivery options at checkout, and making greater use of low- and zero-emissions carriers. 

  • Step 3: review progress and adapt as necessary – it’s crucial to check that strategies are delivering. Rather than compiling emissions data once a year during reporting season, the right emissions tracking tools can monitor emissions in real time. That enables retailers to track their progress and adjust emissions-reduction strategies in response to real world conditions. 

  • Step 4: share the success – as the strategies begin to bear fruit, retailers will want to share good news about their progress with customers. Trustworthy data on emissions reductions will stand up to scrutiny, and prove to shoppers that the retailer shares their values. 

Tracking supply chain emissions 

The key to sustainable shipping is the ability to compile trustworthy data on carbon emissions in the last mile, using it as the basis for planning and reporting.   

Later this year, nShift will launch Emissions Tracker, which will help ecommerce companies and warehouses calculate, record and analyse greenhouse gas emissions for every shipment. It enables companies to comply with environmental reporting requirements and helps them pinpoint opportunities for emissions reduction. 

By tracking emissions at the shipment level, the tool provides accurate information that conforms to industry standards. Insights are easily available through a single portal, eliminating the need to access multiple systems and reports from different carriers.  

What is more, the solution enables businesses to make data-driven decisions about their sustainability practices, satisfy disclosure rules, and demonstrate their improvements to stakeholders and customers. 

Register here for more information.

Emissions disclosure rules tightening in 2024 

Consumers want to see that the people they buy from are growing more sustainable. But regulators are just as eager to discover what progress companies are making. Indeed, reporting on carbon emissions will soon be a matter of law. 

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will take full effect in mid-2024.  Among other measures, the legislation will require some 50,000 companies doing business within the EU to report on their past and present greenhouse gas emissions. 

CSRD is among a number of increasingly stringent requirements issued by global regulators which compel businesses to report on their environmental footprint. This creates more visibility around a company’s record on sustainability and can affect its relationship with its consumers.   

The retail sector has long been at the forefront of the drive for sustainability. But as customers become more discerning, and regulations become tighter, there’s no scope to stand still. By implementing sustainable shipping strategies, logistics can help the business minimise its supply chain emissions. 

Find out more about how nShift can help warehouses grow more sustainable and manage complex reporting requirements

Published On: 09/11/2023 13:00:00


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