The logistics industry will be transformed by the pursuit of sustainability – not just in terms of the technologies being used but in terms of the business model, a study by Deutsche Post DHL concludes.
The study “Delivering Tomorrow: Towards Sustainable Logistics” follows up on a 2009 Delphi Study on ten top future trends and includes a survey of 3,600 business customers and consumers worldwide.
It says the logistics industry will be key to comprehensive carbon reduction efforts in most sectors due to its unique expertise and positioning along the supply chain.
Sixty-three per cent of business customers believe that logistics will become a strategic lever for CO2 abatement. In addition to its strategic economic importance, logistics will increasingly be seen as essential to achieving lower carbon emissions across the economy.
Deutsche Post DHL chief Frank Appel said: “The logistics industry can achieve significant carbon reduction results today by making distribution networks more efficient, using the right modes of transport and by managing load capacities and routes more efficiently.
“Our aim with the study is to create a more focused debate. The report aims to show how business innovation and green demand can drive a carbon-efficient industry and lead to a low-carbon economy.”
The study argues that logistics will no longer be viewed as a commodity, where offering the cheapest solution rules. As a result, the leading logistics companies of the future will be those that provide sustainable services. The study also suggests that significant carbon reductions can already be achieved within the logistics sector without waiting for major technological breakthroughs.
Carbon pricing mechanisms will accelerate a market-based dynamic toward more sustainable solutions. Once there is a real price tag attributed to carbon emissions, the environment will be an integral part of investment decisions.
“Especially customers in Asia are ready to accept that it may cause higher prices, the study shows. For example, 84 per cent of consumers in China, India, Malaysia and Singapore say they would accept a higher price for green products – compared to only 50 per cent in Western countries.
“We want to be part of the solution when it comes to lowering carbon emissions. This report shows that this will not be without challenges. There is no “silver bullet” technology that will solve all the problems overnight,” said Appel.