Going green is steadily, and rightly, becoming a key priority for many organisations around the world. For the most part, this is because of environmental degradation and the awareness that has been spreading on this matter for the past few years. Environmentally friendly businesses contribute towards dealing with the ongoing climate crisis as well as taking steps that can help us slow it down.
However, going green and becoming environmentally friendly is a decision that enables organisations to get many other benefits as well, and hence it is a decision that should be made sooner rather than later.
If you are a 3PL business looking for ways you can contribute towards combating the climate crisis as well as getting other perks of environment-friendly practices, you have come to the right place. This blog is all about what it means to be environmentally friendly for 3PL businesses, and the steps they can take to ensure that their operations are sustainable and ecologically sound.
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive right in!
Before we zoom in on how you can make your 3PL fulfilment centre or warehouse more environmentally friendly, it is important to understand the importance of going green and ensuring that your business activity aligns with what’s best for the planet.
Firstly, let’s get the obvious reason behind this out of the way: the planet needs it. The climate crisis is not something that belongs to the future, it is happening right now and millions of people all around the world are suffering from it. Many anthropogenic i.e. human induced factors such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation have led to a rise in natural calamities in many countries. These calamities result in people losing their belongings, homes, and lives.
Although climate change is a reality that we must grow accustomed to, the rate and magnitude at which the climate is changing currently is of great concern. If the climate crisis is not dealt with promptly, our activities could cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem in just the next few decades.
Keeping all of that in mind, it becomes pretty clear that it is the responsibility of every single human being on Earth to take a conversationalist stance and change their lifestyle to be more ecologically friendly. As a business, you have an even greater responsibility since the industrial carbon footprint is monumental.
So, the environmentally sensible thing for any business, including a 3PL like yours, to do is to get on board with the environment activists and make their processes more sustainable. Although this is perhaps the most important reason why you should do this, it is not the only reason. Let’s have a look at some other reasons you should consider going green and becoming more environmentally friendly.
Becoming environmentally friendly is not only good for the planet, it’s also good for your business! For example, in 2000, a chemical producer DuPont made the effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 65%. In a struggle to do this, the company reported saving $2.2bn annually. Interestingly, the declared profits that year for DuPont were also equal to that amount, so it’s pretty clear to see how their margins correlated with the initiative to be more environmentally-friendly.
Even by making small changes in the way you do things at your organisation, you can end up saving a lot of money; all while saving the planet while you’re at it!
As we have already discussed, climate change is quickly becoming a global crisis, which means that governments and other powerful authorities are also involved in tackling it. For example, in the USA, the federal government in 2009 established a stimulus plan that provided environmentally friendly businesses with incentives through tax credits.
Depending on which country you are in, your efforts to go green are likely to be rewarded. Many energy companies and corporations will also provide you with rewards. So again, you can save money by making your business more ecologically sound, since there are quite a few avenues to help you with that.
As the awareness regarding the alarming degradation of earth’s state increases, so does the amount of people who actually care. More and more customers all over the world are switching preferences to accommodate businesses that are making an effort to help climate change. In fact, it is said that the current economy consists majorly of “green consumers,” which means that a huge chunk of your customers at least is going to want to see environmentally friendly initiatives from your end.
With innovation and authenticity that actually aligns with the purpose to “go green,” you can endlessly impress this segment of your audience.
When you are choosing to change your organisational operations to become more environmentally-friendly, you are also making an effort to make your organisation more efficient and productive. Even small-scale changes can help you do more with less, which means not only financial saving but also hyper-efficient business practices and a considerably happier customer base.
At the end of the day, this productivity is good not only for you, but also for your employees as they see the results of their hard work. By being environmentally friendly, you essentially convert your business into a hub of productivity, which is ultimately what every business wants.
Climate change is a serious threat, and people are beginning to consider it as such. This means that in order for your operations to be considered authentic and credible, they have to align with the well-being of the planet. If you indulge in harmful practices that harm the planet and your customers find out about it, chances are that you will lose business, and that too a lot of it.
Not only that, but businesses that go green are now considered luxury. Consumers actually prefer eco-friendly as a status symbol (think Tesla!) as opposed to traditional status symbols – which means that this is also an opportunity for your business to go in that direction.
And now, onto the real deal: what can you do as a 3PL business to make your fulfilment centre more environmentally friendly?
Kind of a weird one to start off with, right? Well, the thing is, insulation is more important than you think, especially if your fulfilment centre is a metal building. If you don’t insulate it, you won’t have a stabilised temperature within the centre, which can slow down your efficiency and productivity in more than one way. And of course, insulation means that you’re using less energy and reducing your emissions by cutting down on your need to heat and cool the centre artificially.
Therefore, you should make an effort to properly insulate your fulfilment centre – for the betterment of the planet, but also for the betterment of your warehouse and inventory!
Everyday, we waste gallons and gallons of water – mostly without even batting an eye. This is mainly because we don’t understand how serious water wastage is, and the harmful impact it has on the environment. And guess what? Warehouses are notorious when it comes to this! Warehouse complexes as well as fulfilment centres just eat up resources, including water.
However, you must reduce water wastage and save water! You can start by installing low-flow plumbing fixtures – and although installation costs of these might be hefty, it is a good investment and will help you save resources ultimately.
You also need to accustom yourself to the idea of reusing water. The water in your washing machines, bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers? Use it! It might sound disgusting, but hear us out. This water, as disturbing and unsanitary as it is, can be treated to be reused. So, instead of piping all of this into the sewage system, you can treat it and use it to flush toilets, irrigate landscaping, and other stuff like that.
And lastly – don’t neglect rainwater. Get yourself a commercial rainwater harvesting system, and make collecting and storing rainwater for later use easy for yourself. This is the most straightforward way to go green, and is a sustainable practice for 3PLs when making their fulfilment centres more environmentally friendly.
Never heard of eco-lighting? You’d be pleased to know that it is essentially just a fancy term for LED bulbs. LED lights are not only brighter than normal bulbs, but they use less energy. Now, if you replace all your normal bulbs and lighting with LED lighting, you can cut down on a huge portion (around 80%!) of power needed to keep your fulfilment centre lit.
Since they are brighter, you will need less LED bulbs to get your lighting on point than their conventional counterparts. The same amount of space can be lit up with fewer bulbs, which in itself is a great method to make sure that less energy is being used.
Another great idea is to get skylights. Skylights are essentially windows that direct sunlight to directly come into the warehouse, which means that during the day time you don’t even need lighting or heating. Also, the fact that your fulfilment centre will be lit up with natural light is a good thing, because it will help your workers focus considerably more. So really, it’s a win-win situation.
Sometimes it feels like the importance of recycling has been instilled within us ever since we were little kids. Yet, we fail to implement in places where it actually matters; for example in an industrial, commercial setting. However, with the help of reusing and recycling, you can reduce the wastage of resources, which can further help you to make your fulfilment centre more environmentally friendly.
Single use packaging such as plastic pallet wraps can be recycled instead of being sent to the landfill. You can get in touch with recycling experts and they will guide you better on what material can be recycled. In some cases, you may even get the opportunity to make money by recycling plastic waste – and who can say no to that?
Also, always stay on the lookout for materials that can be reused as it is. This will help you not only save money, but also the energy and time that would be wasted on getting everything from scratch.
You can even go a step ahead and initiate a packaging return program. So, if the distributors return used packaging which you can then recycle, they get a reward. This will help you in your effort to be environmentally friendly, but it will also help you push yourself forward as a business that really cares.
Did you know that intelligent automation can help us achieve a sustainable economy as well as aid us in energy transition? In many industries, including fulfilment and logistics, automation is the key to saving up on energy and making sure that harmful impact on the planet is kept to the bare minimum.
Digital transformation means less dependence on labour and reduced waste as well as carbon footprints, which contributes towards achieving the ESG performance every organisation strives to give.
Therefore, making sure that your warehouse and fulfilment centres are equipped with the latest technology such as warehouse management systems, inventory management software, and also order management and labour management systems can have a positive impact on your business.
By speeding up activity and cutting down on repetitive processes, you are not only taking your business towards success but also making sure that your journey is not harming the planet.
The climate crisis is real, and in order to be able to successfully tackle it every human being needs to make an effort. Businesses, especially 3PLs with their industrial requirements must take an initiative in going green and ensuring that their business activities don’t cause damage to the environment. By doing this, you will not only be saving millions of lives all over the world but also be establishing yourself as a business that truly cares, which is all that matters.
Luckily, making your fulfilment centres more ecologically sound can be as easy as getting a warehouse management system. Request a demo today to see how our fulfilment solutions can help your 3PL services become bigger and better than ever before.