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There was a time when shoppers just wanted their stuff, and didn’t really care where it came from, what it was made of or how it got to them. But things have changed. A lot. Businesses and consumers alike are quite rightly considering not just the cost of products to our pockets, but to our planet too.


– or 5.5 times more than their own direct emissions*. And the supply chains of just eight industries (food, construction, fashion, fast-moving consumer goods, electronics, automotive, professional services and freight) create a whopping 50%+ of global emissions.

Transportation and shipping alone accounts for 14% of global greenhouse emissions*.
So it’s no wonder that logistics make up such a big proportion of businesses’ overall emissions.

It’s obvious that something needs to be done to cut back on these greenhouse gases. If you’re looking to reduce your business’s impact, particularly if you’re within one of those eight key industries, sustainable logistics is the most sensible place to start.


What is sustainable logistics?

Sustainable logistics, also known as green logistics, is a process aimed at improving supply chain activities – like producing and distributing goods – in an eco-friendly way that considers environmental, financial and social factors. Sustainable logistics aims to lower the overall ecological footprint of a supply chain, and can include things like CO2 emissions, community impact, traffic and noise pollution. And it’s designed to do so while still balancing a strong bottom line and great customer satisfaction.


It depends on where your business is in its your journey. Your business may be like the 90% of companies surveyed by IBM who say they are working on various sustainability initiatives**. But according to the Climate Action 100+ net-zero Company Benchmark, 50% of businesses who want to achieve net-zero by 2050 don’t actually cover the full scope of their value chain emissions*. Undoubtedly that’s because factoring in every end-to-end element of a supply chain is incredibly tricky, and it requires a lot of time and financial investment to get it right. But it’s critical to address: without a green supply chain, you can’t reach net zero.

This process will be different for every business depending on the structure of your supply chain and your operations. But the best first step to take could actually be the last: looking at your final mile, and working backwards to your transportation network.

The easiest way to go greener is to partner with logistics suppliers who are transparent about their sustainable practices, particularly across freight, warehousing and that all-important last-mile delivery. They should have done a lot of the green leg-work for you, and be able to supply their own solutions; stats on the emissions you’ve saved by using them; and their long-term science-based targets to help you plan for the future.


You’ll want to be sure you’re holding your partners to account when it comes to their sustainable credentials. The last mile is critical, but what about the vehicles and fuels they’re using to get there, or the buildings your goods are being handled in?

As an example of the types of carbon-friendly initiatives you could look for in your partners’ logistics and last-mile offerings, here are our global climate-neutral logistics solutions:

  1. Carbon neutral buildings leveraging energy from renewable sources like solar
  2. Green line-haul powered by sustainable fuels
  3. Emissions transparency, providing customers with visibility of the carbon footprint of their shipments
  4. More efficient networks through route optimisation
  5. Green last-mile delivery through green modes like an electric vehicle fleet and bicycles
  6. Sustainable fuels to power ships and planes

Make sure you’re asking your suppliers for their long-term net zero targets and how they’re going to reach them too. Across the DHL Group, we’ve set ourselves the target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by over 10 million tonnes CO2e by 2030. We plan to reach it through increasing our use of sustainable fuels and carbon neutral buildings, offering a portfolio of green products and further electrifying our last-mile deliveries.

The real challenge of having a green supply chain is the same as the solution: you can’t do it alone. By focusing firstly on your logistics and last mile deliveries – and partnering with suppliers who have sustainability covered – you can reduce your supply chain’s carbon footprint (and therefore a significant proportion of your overall footprint) the easy way.


It’s good to talk! Arrange a call back with our team of eCommerce experts to find out how we can help you grow your business. We know that one size doesn’t fit all, so tell us your goals and aspirations and we’ll work with you to find the perfect solution for your needs.

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