This section introduces the concept of going green in logistics for the sake of minimizing adverse environmental impact. Logistics is the heart of the organized transport system. It involves controlling the movement of goods throughout the globe using the various means of transport. Greenness is currently a code word widely used in the contemporary world in reference to embracing environmentally friendly practices. Green logistics, therefore, refers to a transport and distribution system that is compatible with the environment (Gunjal, Nalwade, Dhondge, Ingale, & Patil, 2015). A detailed research on the impact of green logistics, which is the focus of the research, will probably reveal multiple benefits and improvements in the transportation and logistics systems. With research findings showing a brighter future, the logistics industry will certainly adopt goals and objectives that align with the tenets of greenness to the advantage of the current and future generations.
This section focuses on what previous researchers have documented about going green in the logistics and transportation as well as in other related industries. Embracing practices that promote a healthier environment has remained a major focus for many industries largely because of concerns such as climate change, CFCs, global warming, and global warming (Browne & Whiteing, 2012). The need for interventions in the transport industry is evidently cited by environmental and development reports. Following the establishment of the goal to realize environmental sustainability, the “World Commission on Environment and Development Reports of 1987”cited green issues arising from the logistics industry as serious concerns. The industry is among the leading contributors of degradation associated with its modes, traffics, and infrastructures (Gunjal at al., 2015).
A review of how the logistics and the transport industry has gradually shifted interest towards environmentally friendly practices and operations is crucial in this section. An evident observation is the shift towards green logistics has led to a new subsector identified as reverse logistics, reverse redistribution, or even better, green logistics. Other than just the tradition process characterized by packaging, warehouse, transportation and inventory management, the new subsector involves the transportation of waste products for disposal or recycling. Previous researchers appreciate that the logistics industry has commendably responded to environmental concerns (Psaraftis, 2015; McKinnon, 2010). The industry, though, seems to overlook significant issues such as congestion, pollution, and resource depletion implying that there is still some stretch before achieving the adorable “green logistics”. Traditionally, the transport and logistics major players have clung to the perception that the disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste are the main environmental concerns that ought to bother them. Congestion and land use, however, must be appreciated as equally important concerns within the industry (Gunjal at al., 2015).
The Significance of Green Logistics
Over the past few decades, governments and environmental groups have placed great emphasis on the need to embrace environmental conservation practices. The logistics industry, listed among the companies causing the greatest environmental degradation and, hence pollution, must devise mechanisms to minimize the environmental impact caused by the logistical operations (Emmett & Sood, 2010). This is necessitated by the fact that the logistics industry affects the local quality of air, causes air pollution, is a major risk to road safety, and makes a noteworthy contribution towards global warming because of engine emissions. Recent scientific studies have hinted that the transport and logistics industry contributes up to 8% of all energy-related carbon emissions injected into the atmosphere. Freight management and warehousing make an additional 3% (Gunjal at al., 2015). Since global warming is an indisputable fact and issue attributed to increased carbon emissions, the need and importance of green logistics is incontestable. A review of the various approaches and concepts to incorporate greenness in logistics is necessary at this stage.
Drivers for Green Logistics
Reviews of the factors that necessitate the shift towards green logistics include the desire to realized improved industrial experience among others. The must be covered for insights on the importance of industry going green. The industry, just like any other giant industry, continues to experience mounting pressure from governments and environmental organizations that want accountability in all operations that affect the environment. The desire to operate in a sustainable environment for contemporary and future generations is a major drive as well. A review of how green logistics will affect the operations costs such as energy costs is important for a good glimpse of the brighter future ahead. Increasing fuels costs is a serious concern in all industry (Gunjal at al., 2015). In fact, many are opting for green alternatives that are proving cost effective while causing minimum effects on the environment.
The desire to reverse the current trend in climate change is another driver that must encourage the shift to green logistics. At least the largest portion of the world population is conscious that global warming is real and affective life on earth. Many have witnessed the melting of glaciers and ice caps as well as the rise in sea level all attributed to global warming (Emmett & Sood, 2010). Green logistics has a certain role to play in reversing this trend. Appreciably, the international community has instituted regulations and agencies that serve as major drivers towards the change to green logistics and transport. These include the “Environmental Protection Agency” and the “Restriction of Hazardous Substances” among many others (Gunjal at al., 2015).
Enablers for Green Logistics
This section focuses on the initiatives majorly adopted in other industries that can comprehensively change the traditional transport and logistics industry into “green logistics”. These enablers include supply chain optimizations, the realization of the green supply chain, and collaboration in the green supply chain. Adopting mobility solutions that minimize the need for the paper while providing a reliable mailing system for internal and external transfer of files and documents is recommended (Fahimnia & Bell, 2015). The use of the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) technology in tracking energy and carbon footprint can also be an exceptional resource. With supply chain optimization, transport will be cost effective yet reach the consumer conveniently. The transportation system will be void of eventualities that cause delays among other inconveniences if automated (Gunjal at al., 2015). Resultantly, transport planning solutions designed for the optimization, identification of unnecessary processes, and the utilization of Lean Manufacturing will certainly revolutionize the industry to become environmentally friendly.
Conclusion and Future Research
Securing the Future for Green Logistics
Advancements in the logistics industry towards becoming a green logistics are a challenging endeavor that requires the input of both the government and private companies. The industry is extensive which necessitates cooperation from all players lest the efforts of individuals become meaningless and futile. Governments, however, must support all initiatives that could provide ample operating environment for logistics companies to operate cost effectively. Otherwise, logistics companies will trade greenness for operations costs in a bid to ensure that they still make profits. The industry must cope with globalization, challenges of the information era, and the changes in consumer preferences while maintaining focus on greenness (Fahimnia & Bell, 2015).
Clearly, logistics is an extensive industry that encompasses all activities from the transportation, handling during the transportation process, through the manufacturing stage to the delivery to consumers. Important aspects of logistics include warehousing, inventory management, material handling, and all associated information processing. By virtue of encompassing many activities, the logistics industry can significantly help in conserving and improving the environment, which can be achieved by embracing green logistics practices. Green logistics entails the implementation of green concepts in the traditional logistics processes and allied sectors.
- Browne, M., & Whiteing, A. (2012). Green Logistics: Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Logistics. London: Kogan Page Publishers.
- Emmett, S., & Sood, V. (2010). Green Supply Chains: An Action Manifesto. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
- Fahimnia, B., & Bell, M. (2015). Green Logistics and Transportation: A Sustainable Supply Chain Perspective. Chicago: Springer.
- Gunjal, P. U., Nalwade, P. M., Dhondge, D., Ingale, P. R., & Patil, A. (2015). GREEN LOGISTICS: IMPROVING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF LOGISTICS IN ENVIRONMENTAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL POINT OF VIEW. International Journal of Science, Technology & Management, 122-133.
- McKinnon, A. C. (2010). Green Logistics: Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Logistics. London: Kogan Page Publishers.
- Psaraftis, H. N. (2015). Green Transportation Logistics: The Quest for Win-Win Solutions. Chicago: Springer.