Sustainability in logistics

Our understanding of the topic and approach

Sustainability in logistics includes the conception, planning and implementation of logistics processes influenced by environmental, social and economic goals. Several factors lead to an increasing importance as a strategic factor: Public awareness (traffic is source of ¼ of the CO2 emissions in the EU and still rising), customer requirements (demand for sustainable logistics solutions complementary to sustainable products from sustainable production), the role as a competitive factor (sustainability is gaining importance as a strategic competition factor) as well as regulatory risks (emissions trade in air and sea cargo, CO2-product label etc.). Nevertheless, sustainability is primarily an approach to increase resource efficiency in logistics (transparency and optimization of logistical structures and processes). While sustainability as a corporate strategy is often already implemented in the industry, the operationalization of the strategy in logistics is missing. In particular the integration of sustainability aspects in logistics strategy and planning is difficult, as process-oriented sustainability indicators are required that are compatible with logistical goals.

Nachhaltigkeit Konzept

Fields of action

Due to a heterogeneous understanding of sustainable logistics in modern companies, the creation of a common understanding of sustainability is a key field of action. On this basis, there is a need for transparency over the current situation and the potentials of sustainability in logistics. Integrating sustainability in goals, processes, responsibilities and decision-making processes is the core task at implementing a sustainable logistics. By designing and implementing sustainable measures a measurable contribution to improving resource efficiency in logistics is achieved.

Range of services

ITCL assists in the development of a mission statement and a sustainability strategy in logistics in coordination with the other elements of the logistics strategy. Transparency of the status quo and the potential of sustainability in logistics can be achieved by adjusting the measurement of sustainability to companies´ specifics and identify the sustainability performance in logistics. In addition to this quantitative approach, sustainable logistics is anchored in the decision making process by the selection and implementation of suitable minimum standards. With the development of an indicator and goal system for sustainable logistics and the organizational as well as the procedural implementation, ITCL makes sustainability in logistics measurable and tangible. Measures based on our approach often include the fields of service provider selection, logistics planning, network planning, transport planning, building and intra logistics as well as cooperations.

Approach and methods

In order to raise awareness of this topic, workshops are a key element to collect business-relevant requirements for the design of sustainable logistics. ITCL has a standardized approach for the requirements specification to match internal requirements and goals of the sustainability assessment with the use of possible measurement methods. These include the selection and application of use-case appropriate tools as well as their compatibility validation and integration into reporting systems. In many the cases the ( Green Logistics Assessment) – developed by ITCL – is used to support logistics planning and to assess environmental effects of logistics. The selected methods are linked to a company-specific, comprehensive accounting and assessment solution.

To support the sustainability goals in the logistics organization, ITCL has a proven procedure for company-specific filtering and adaptation of key performance indicators based on a comprehensive indicator catalog. The derived indicator system represents the basis for target and control systems. The structuring and hierarchizing of the used indicator system can be based, e.g., on the material flow rate. By performing comparisons and trade-off considerations, an existing methodology is used for aggregating social and environmental indicators.

The definition and selection of measures is supported by the enterprise-specific evaluation of the eco-efficiency of innovative technologies in transport, handling and warehousing. With the development of business cases for the implementation of sustainable technologies, decisions are made comprehensible and transparent. The integration of logistics service providers can be ensured by the inclusion of defined sustainability criteria in tendering and procurement processes, which ITCL ensures with their proven methodology.

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