Wednesday 23rd Aug 2017 - Logistics & Supply Chain

Running circles around environmental savings

As just about everyone has come to realise, sustainability is a big issue and one that has got the corporate world falling over itself to issue environmental policies and green initiatives that outshine the rest. Of course, this is most commendable. But just how well are these companies doing against their set goals?

According to the 2007 UPS Corporate Sustainability Report published in August this year, the company’s total energy consumption increased by 1.3 per cent in 2007. Now with a growing business centred round transport this may be hardly surprising. However, it transpires that energy consumption per package also increased by 1.2 per cent. So what’s happening here?

The report cites the reason for this rise in energy consumption per package as ‘transit-time improvements and increased residential deliveries’. And it seems the operational measures they are using to reduce energy range from the latest technical innovations to rerouteing to avoid left turns. Well, having a predilection for right turns is certainly running rings around my understanding of why energy consumption per package increased in 2007.

Apparently, using package flow technology nearly 30 million miles were shaved off delivery routes in the United States – saving three million gallons of fuel and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 32,000 tonnes. Taking all this into consideration, along with the fact that UPS has the largest ‘green fleet’ in the entire transport industry, surely these energy savings should be reflected in the consumption per package shipped?

I suspect that the problem lies with customer demand for faster deliveries and the rise of internet-based retail sales feeding through to more home deliveries. So, whereas UPS may be moving towards a greener future, consumer demand is working in the opposite direction.

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