Reducing Carbon Emissions Through Better Logistics

Carbon Emissions Pollution Climate Change

Companies all over the world are attempting to reduce their carbon footprint. This move towards a more green operation fits with a global developing environmental interest. A green operation can be used as a marketing tool but can also save the company money. Depending on the company, any or all of these may be of principle importance.

Businesses that transport materials can reduce their carbon footprint through the best possible use of logistics. This can be one of the easiest and most productive ways to reduce emissions.

Anytime materials are moved from place to place, energy is expended. This energy can be in the form of electricity, gasoline or diesel fuel. Any of these energy sources produces carbon monoxide and contributes to the carbon footprint of the company.

The proper use of logistics, the process of scheduling and managing the transportation of goods in the most efficient manner, can help a company reduce their carbon footprint.

Scheduling is one tool of logistics that can reduce a company’s carbon footprint. By scheduling as much material as possible in each load, the number of loads transported may be reduced. By reducing the number of trips the amount of fuel consumed is reduced thereby reducing the amount of carbon emissions. At times, this may require shifts in purchasing patterns. For example, rather than purchase a less than truck load quantity of a raw material, it may be more efficient to buy goods in truckload quantities to reduce the amount of fuel burned in transportation.

Load management is also a logistic tool that can conserve fuel and reduce emissions. Properly loaded trucks with balanced loads are more fuel efficient and safer to operate than mismanaged loads. Load management commonly falls to the truck drivers or loading dock crew but is ultimately a part of transportation logistics. Using the most efficient form of transportation can also reduce carbon emissions. An 18-wheel semi rig is capable of hauling up 100,000 pounds. Use a smaller truck for smaller loads to conserve fuel.

Using common carriers, truck lines that cover a specific route rather than trucks that haul from point-to-point, may reduce energy and carbon emissions for small loads. After all, the common carrier is already driving the route and utilizing it does not add to the emissions.

Logistics can also manage the type of transportation used to move goods from place to place. Bulky and heavy materials are often transported more efficiently on a train rather than a truck. Trains usually transport with greater fuel efficiency per ton of freight transported than a truck. This fuel efficiency can be lost if the amount of fuel necessary to transport the goods from the rail yards to the final destination exceeds the amount of fuel saved by utilizing the train.

A smaller carbon footprint is not just good for the environment it is good for the bottom line. Most of the logistical tools used to reduce carbon emissions, reduce the amount of fuel burned in transporting the goods. Proper use of logistics provides an excellent public relations platform by showing a company is environmentally conscious.

Tom Forbes is a valued contributor to CosmoBC's TechBlog and BizBlog.

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