Sustainability is emerging as a salient concept with increasing importance and is soon becoming a strategic issue for the Indian logistics sector; given that logistics forms a core element in any enterprise activity. At a time when the adverse environmental impacts of transportation have gained wide recognition and are at the apex of sustainability issues, especially in urban areas, Green logistics has gained high traction due to the importance that is being attached to the preservation of the environment. Today many companies in the logistics arena are adapting a green transport system in order to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, promote social harmony, save transportation costs and measure and minimize the ecological impacts of their activities. In the process of establishing a system of green logistics, they are setting the basis for the entire green logistics system.
Transport and logistics are fundamental to the growth and development of any country‘s economy. For a country like India, which is set to become the third largest economy in the next five years, demand for practically everything has shot up. Needless to say, it has also increased the demand for transportation and with it the importance of providing an efficient infrastructure for logistics. While logistics operational efficiency is measured in terms of optimized cost and speed of delivery, the unfavorable impacts of logistics on environment are often neglected. Green Logistics refer to transportation, storage and handling of goods in the most sustainable way in an effort to achieve a balance between environmental, economic and social objectives. It comprises green transport; green warehousing; green packaging; green logistics data collection and management; waste management, and even a system in which advanced technology to minimize environmental damage and increase resource utilization can be practiced.
Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of the future generation; it includes three elements i.e. the environment, the economy and the society. Logistics facilitates in getting goods and services to the user or the customer as when they are needed or desired. The procedure involves planning, implementing and controlling the raw materials and the finished goods in a cost effective and efficient manner from the point of origin to the point of consumption. When businesses incorporate these daily business operations and decision making process with their environmental management practices, it gives rise to green logistics.
A proven source of carbon emissions, conventional transport vehicles constitutes (constitute) nearly 30% of particulate pollution in metros, generate noise pollution, render a negative impact on the local air quality and make a high-magnitude input to global warming. The basic reasons why Indian logistics units should switch to green sustainable strategies for their business are to-
- Manage degrading effects on the environment
- Improve the quality and efficiency of services, products, processes and supplies
- Differentiate products from those of the competitors
- Increase consumer awareness on sustainability and social responsibility towards the environment
Some green sustainable strategies that can be applied in the current Indian logistics and supply chain setup are-
- Green purchasing– Purchasing of products that have a detrimental effect on the environment in as less an amount as possible or switching to materials that have fewer if any adverse effects on the environment.
- Green production– Idea of producing goods and service with less waste, implementing preventive environmental management strategies for reducing waste and pollution. This will lead to improved efficiency and lowered risks on human health.
- Green transportation– Efficiently managing the movement of all the goods in the value chain from the beginning to the end. This can bring down damage caused to the environment like lesser fumes coming out of delivery vehicles, better life cycle of vehicle.
- Green packaging– Also referred to as ecological packaging, it values human as well as animal health and uses recycled materials made of natural plant materials. This particular sustainable strategy can affect performance and efficiency all through the supply chain process right from planning to customer delivery.
- Reverse logistics– Another very interesting yet useful strategy is that of recycling unwanted materials and repurposing them for using somewhere in the production process. Reusing products, reducing resources that are scarce and recycling are the essentials when it comes to applying and implementing this strategy.
Due to reckless human activities, the environment is in grave danger now and is grabbing eyeballs all around. The need of the hour is applying green sustainable strategies in Indian logistics and supply chain industry, as this industry will play a vital role in boosting India’s growth. While large firms are slowly partnering to push for sustainable business practices with twin-fold objective of cutting down costs and contributing their share to the environment, not all of them have realized the compatibility of green logistics alongside their mainstream services.
Green logistics focuses solely on implementation of green concepts in every single approach of logistics and its allied services. Use of information technology will definitely boost the ease in implementing green logistics and help firms slowly move towards the path of sustainable growth. There are few logistics providers in India like Safexpress who focus wilfully on transportation through environment friendly and sustainable logistics solutions with their green and emission free vehicles. These are the companies that are looking for ways to go green; they understand that in order for the planet to remain habitable for generations to come, we must work now to identify and reduce emissions and make our current practices more sustainable.
Safexpress is a pioneer of green logistics and utilizes its proficiency in making the logistics greener and more sustainable – giving it an edge over other players in the industry. The company constantly focuses on ways to eradicate waste, retain more of the value that goes into its customer’s products and ultimately move toward a circular economy.