When considering environmental impact in the logistics industry, there is more to consider than purely direct emissions. Global risk management provider, SAI Global, notes the importance of considering the entire lifetime of operations and products from the acquisition of materials to their end-of-life treatment.
Environmental management systems expert at SAI Global Saeid Nikdel says, “Parcel and freight companies are increasingly demonstrating a commitment to ethical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly practices across their operations, from sourcing materials through to manufacture, distribution and disposability. Many are also choosing to partner with businesses in their supply chain that does the same.”
Data from a survey conducted last year by CouriersPlease showed that Australians are much more likely to purchase ethical and sustainable products. Nine out of ten Australians held this view, and 85 per cent indicated they prefer when the sustainability details of a product are transparent.
The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System benefits businesses when it comes to sustainability transparency as it indicates the business’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its operations. The management system provides businesses with the tools to prevent and reduce pollution.
“Typical stages of a product/service lifecycle include raw material acquisition, design, production, transportation/delivery, material usage, end-of-life treatment, and final disposal, and organisations need to determine these within the scope of their environmental management system,” Mr. Nikdel said.
Society’s heavy use of plastics is a major environmental problem. Plastic is used daily in producing thousands of products and their packaging, and these take anywhere between 20 and 500 years to decompose. However, plant-based alternatives used for packaging can take as little as 180 days to decompose.
“The Center for International Environmental Law indicates that packaging alone accounts for 40 per cent of global demand for plastics. For organisations that are looking to be environmentally responsible, dramatically reducing – or even eliminating – their reliance on plastic for packaging is an excellent place to start,” Mr. Nikdel said.
There are several benefits from certifying with the ISO 14001 environmental management system. Organisations with the certification are more likely to gauge interest from potential customers and stakeholders than those who don’t have the environmental management system. It can also reduce costs for waste management while creating a positive outlook for the brand for raising environmental awareness and limiting harmful effects on the environment.