Signs of change

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Are we seeing a fundamental change of approach to supply chain issues as a result of lobbying by environmental organisations? In the past, the pressure has always been to bring down costs but increasingly green issues are taking priority. Developers such as Gazeley and ProLogis are offering environmentally friendly warehouses, and alternative fuels are beginning to be taken more seriously. And the pace of change is increasing. In just the past couple of weeks:

  • The Institute of Grocery Distribution has launched a three step system designed to help the industry minimise the environmental impact of transporting food.
  • Freightliner has named one of its new Class 66, low emission locomotives “NYK Spirit Of Kyoto” in honour of the Kyoto Protocol which aims to cut greenhouse gases.
  • The Freight Transport Association has launched a green campaigning web site.
  • Isotrak has launched a fleet analysis tool which it says can deliver carbon footprint reduction.
  • Supply Chain Consulting, an Australian logistics consultancy, is launching its “CarbonView” software in the UK to enable companies to visualise and manage the carbon footprint created by their supply chain.
  • Scania has joined forces with Neste in Finland to try out a low-emission bio-based diesel fuel.
  • Royal Mail has started trialling electric vehicles.
  • Volvo Trucks has produced a tool to enable transport companies to see the environmental impact of different truck models during the vehicle’s entire life-cycle.
  • Scala Logistics’ fifth annual logistics debate will have a speaker from Friends of the Earth and ask the question: Will environmental issues force us to think the unthinkable?”
  • And a survey by the FTA has found that almost nine out of ten lorry operators are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint.

All very laudable, but clearly we are in a process of change that is accelerating: that can bring its own dangers. As the hype grows it will be increasingly important that organisations do not forget the fundamentals.

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor

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