The emerging trends of sustainable logistics

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As the impact of climate change continues to become more visible, businesses in New Zealand are increasingly prioritising sustainable practices. The Ministry for the Environment has identified transport emissions as the country’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 20% of all emissions produced. A significant portion of these emissions, nearly 70%, come from cars, SUVs, utes, vans, and light trucks. Despite these challenges, innovative technologies and renewable resources are revolutionising sustainability within existing supply chains nationwide. 

Read on to learn more about the exciting trends in sustainable logistics and the role of businesses in their carbon footprint reduction.

1. Adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy

Aligned with New Zealand's goal to reduce emissions from freight transport by 35% by 2035, the government reported, the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy sources is becoming commonplace. As sustainability becomes a top priority for companies, it's clear that electric vehicles will play a crucial role in the remarkable future of green logistics. 

Comparison of environmental impact

Electric vehicles (EVs) provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline cars by producing fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs). Even when considering the electricity used for charging, EVs are typically responsible for a smaller carbon footprint in comparison.

Furthermore, despite the additional energy required to manufacture an EV's battery, the lifetime GHG emissions associated with an EV, including manufacturing, charging, and driving, are typically lower than those of a gasoline car. This is because EVs have zero tailpipe emissions, release fewer GHGs during operation and recycling EV batteries can also further minimise emissions associated with making an EV.

Savings in operational and maintenance costs

In terms of operations, electric vehicles offer an extraordinary level of reliability and cost savings for logistics companies in the long run compared to traditional automobiles. The absence of a combustion engine eliminates the need for regular oil changes, while regenerative braking significantly reduces brake wear. Furthermore, fewer moving parts further minimises maintenance costs since fewer components can be subject to wear and tear over time.

For example, DHL Express New Zealand has long recognised this opportunity and is leading the charge with customisable GoGreen solutions and its fleet of green delivery cars that are powered by renewable energy sources

2. Use of data and technology for efficiency and sustainability

Technology propels one of the most positive environmental impacts through streamlining supply chain operations, even for overseas shipping. Cutting-edge advances in machine learning and AI offer a way to make even bigger cutbacks. Optimising routes with up-to-date weather reports, accident data, and other information helps minimise unutilised time and enhances route performance

Maintenance proficiency also gains from technological progressions; predictive maintenance systems empowered by Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets plus onboard sensors monitor vehicle equipment constantly for any potential mechanical issues or when servicing requirements come due, thus maintaining vehicles’ fuel efficiency at its peak while minimising prospects for breakdowns en route which could lead to unnecessary emissions from towing.

3. Focus on circular logistics

Developing in parallel with the circular economy, the rise in popularity of circular logistics in New Zealand is optimistic and set to become the new standard. As a system where materials and products are recycled, reused or repurposed to create a closed-loop supply chain, this approach offers many benefits, including waste reduction, lowering costs, and improved environmental sustainability while creating new business opportunities.

According to the Circularity Gap, by reducing the need for virgin materials and optimising the use of resources, greenhouse gas emissions have the potential to be lowered by 39%. Furthermore, in Professor Omera Khan's book "Product Design and the Supply Chain", she outlines how utilising a closed-loop resource cycle—which involves leveraging recycled materials from nearby sources—can improve resilience while reducing reliance on single raw material sources. It also effectively bolsters the ability of supply chains to withstand disruption and price volatility.

Join DHL Express and make a stride towards sustainable logistics

With all these trends seeking to enter the mainstream, businesses who are looking to adopt more eco-friendly supply chain operations will benefit from partnering with experienced and agile logistics providers who are making significant progress towards reducing their carbon footprint. 

At DHL Express New Zealand, we put environmental sustainability at the heart of our operations, offering businesses access to industry-leading green logistics services. Open a business account with DHL Express and take advantage of our expertise in sustainable logistics and help reduce your business’s carbon emissions today. Our team can also help you identify and implement innovative solutions for minimising the negative environmental impact of your operations via sustainable logistics practices. 

Check out our website’s published blogs for insights into how we're championing renewable energy and driving positive changes in New Zealand's freight sector towards a greener future for our planet.