Environmentally futureproofing the logistics sector

Monday, 01 March, 2021

Environmentally futureproofing the logistics sector

Global risk management provider SAI Global has revealed its pathway for the logistics sector to reduce its environmental impact through the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System.

The logistics sector tackled multiple challenges in 2020 while simultaneously meeting a boom in delivery volumes, thanks to increased online purchases.

However, a growing challenge for this transport-reliant sector is balancing its business goals with the expectation to lower emissions and become environmentally sustainable.

Saeid Nikdel, SAI Global environmental management systems expert, said the future will require a balance of business and carbon-reduction objectives.

“Sooner or later, governments will act to ensure businesses take full responsibility for their environmental impact. Those businesses that have already begun a process of action that is ongoing, accountable and measurable will reach the standards required in the timeframes set out by any new legislation and futureproof their brand.”

Saeid said the transport-dependent logistics industry cannot avoid an environmental impact. The sector can, however, reduce its footprint across waste, energy use, transportation and operations.

Australia’s transport emissions account for 19% of the country’s overall carbon emissions — a higher rate than the world-combined transport emissions figure of 15%, according to SAI Global.

Saeid said a strategic pathway to reassuring the public that a business has set environmental goals, is accountable to those goals and continually exceeds international benchmarks is certification to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System.

Certification to the standard ensures that logistics businesses are working on a results-focused environmental management system that is independently audited several times a year.

“Unlike carbon-reduction-specific certifications, ISO 14001 ensures businesses respond to all environmental issues — it helps to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and reduce energy costs. However, it is flexible and allows businesses to choose outcomes,” he said.

Certifying to ISO 14001, a business of any size can develop and implement policies to deliver environmentally responsible and sustainable business practices that meet international benchmarks.

The standard ensures businesses follow a clear five-pillar approach:

  1. As an initial step in their strategy, businesses must understand external and internal factors that may affect their ability to achieve the desired sustainability outcome. Objectives and timeframes can, therefore, be regularly updated to remain realistic and attainable.
  2. Secondly, organisational leaders must commit to the environmental strategy and management system implemented in their workplace and take accountability for its effectiveness. They must ensure regular reviews and refinements occur along the way, sufficient resources are allocated and environmental policies and objectives are clearly communicated. It is also recommended that organisations appoint key executives to specific roles and responsibilities.
  3. Developing a robust environmental strategy takes careful planning to address any risks and opportunities within the industry and the organisation. A plan must outline environmental objects and steps to achieve them and necessary management changes.
  4. The plan may include the redistribution of resources to ensure progress is made on the environmental management system and that it is carefully monitored. A lifecycle process is recommended to plan, implement and control processes and meet environmental requirements for its products and services.
  5. Lastly, the business should verify and evaluate the capabilities of the processes it has developed, including customer feedback.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/WrightStudio

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