LAST MONTH, I WROTE IN THIS COLUMN ABOUT CLIMATE
change. Despite what many want to believe, climate change is very real. It’s
more than just the natural cycles of climatology that are causing our Earth
to warm. Humans are definitely involved.
However, it is time to put politics aside and stop arguing about who’s to
blame. We all are. We all drive cars, consume products, and use energy to
stay warm in the winter. We all contribute to the release of carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gases. But there are practical things we can do to
slow down global warming. As supply chain practitioners, we, more than
most professionals, can have a positive impact on climate change.
First of all, we can improve how we source products.
Using raw materials from sources closer to factories can
reduce transportation miles. Locating production and
distribution nearer to end-consumers can further trim
Maritime shipping is a significant contributor to global
greenhouse-gas emissions. However, on Jan. 1, the industry took a huge step forward by requiring cargo vessels
to switch to low-sulfur fuels. Such fuels reduce the emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, and ozone-deplet-ing substances, which add to greenhouse gases.
Ocean carrier CMA CGM announced in December
that it will also become the first container line to deploy a
mix of 80% low-sulfur fuel and 20% biofuel made from
used cooking oil. The carrier claims this new fuel reduces
greenhouse-gas emissions by 80%.
Some shipping lines will offset the increased costs of complying with the
new regulations by slow steaming, which uses less fuel and reduces emis-
sions. Shippers can be more eco-friendly by being willing to adjust their
The over-the-road transport sector can also look to alternative fuels.
Biodiesel is renewable and produces one-quarter of the carbon dioxide
emissions of regular diesel. Electric trucks are starting to hit the roads as
well. Tesla reports more than 2,000 advance orders for its battery-powered
Tesla Semi trucks, due to begin production this year. Volvo and Daimler
are also developing electric transport vehicles. To promote their adoption,
carriers and shippers both need to push for the development of the necessary recharging infrastructure.
Facilities can also reduce their carbon footprint by installing solar panels
and minimizing their reliance on coal-burning power plants. The use of
skylights and efficient lighting can also save energy.
As an industry, let’s take the lead on climate change. We might actually
find some cost savings along the road to a cleaner world.
Supply chain professionals need to
take the lead on climate change
Senior News Editor
Editor at Large
Editor at Large
Director of Creative Services
Director of eMedia
Managing Editor - Digital
Mitch Mac Donald
Group Editorial Director
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