small plant under a lightbulb in the dirt sustainability

Sustainability in the Logistics Industry

Picture of Silver Runner Kft.

Silver Runner Kft.

Sustainability is a buzzword that has been gaining popularity in recent years, especially in the context of climate change and environmental issues. But what does it mean for the logistics industry, which is responsible for moving goods and people around the world?

What does sustainability mean in logistics?

Green logistics, also called sustainable logistics, is the practice of making supply chain activities more eco-friendly. These activities include everything from getting raw materials to delivering and managing the products’ lifecycle. Fenntarthatóság can be achieved in three ways: environmental, social and economic.

  • Environmental sustainability means minimizing the harm that logistics operations do to nature, such as producing greenhouse gases, polluting the air, making noise, creating waste and using resources.

  • Social sustainability cares about the health and happiness of the people who work in or are affected by logistics activities, such as workers, customers, communities and society in general.

  • Economic sustainability makes sure that logistics activities are cost-effective and productive, while also thinking about the long-term impacts and benefits for everyone involved.
small plant under a lightbulb in the dirt sustainability

Why is sustainability important for the logistics industry?

Various factors, such as customer needs, new technologies, new rivals and new rules, are changing the logistics industry.

Sustainability is a major force behind this change, as it creates both problems and possibilities for the industry. Sustainability is hard for the logistics industry because it causes a lot of global carbon emissions and environmental damage. A report by PwC says that transport and logistics make up about 14% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Also, logistics emissions are likely to more than double by 2050 because more people and goods will need to be moved around.

The opportunities of sustainability lie in the potential benefits that sustainable logistics can bring to the industry and its stakeholders. These benefits include:

  • Cost savings: By implementing sustainable practices, such as optimizing routes, improving capacity utilization, switching to renewable energy sources and reducing waste, logistics companies can lower their operational costs and increase their margins.

  • Competitive advantage: By offering sustainable products and services, such as low-carbon transport options, transparent carbon footprint reporting and circular economy solutions, logistics companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract more customers who value sustainability.

  • Risk management: By complying with environmental and social regulations, such as carbon taxes, emission standards and labor laws, logistics companies can avoid fines, penalties and reputational damage. They can also anticipate and adapt to changing market conditions and customer preferences.

  • Innovation: By investing in research and development, such as new technologies, business models and partnerships, logistics companies can create new value propositions and solutions that address sustainability challenges and opportunities.
man standing in front of a wall on the wall there is a chalk drawing about sustainability

How can the logistics industry become more sustainable?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for achieving sustainability in logistics. However, there are some general steps that can help logistics companies move towards this goal:

  1. Gather data: The first step is to collect reliable data on the current state of sustainability in logistics operations. This data can help measure greenhouse gas levels, identify sources of emissions, track performance indicators and communicate results to stakeholders.

  2. Connect with supply chain partners: The second step is to share data and collaborate with other actors in the supply chain, such as suppliers, customers, regulators and NGOs. This can help create transparency, alignment and synergies on sustainability goals and initiatives.

  3. Build compliance into processes: The third step is to ensure that logistics processes comply with existing and emerging environmental and social regulations. This can help avoid legal risks and demonstrate commitment to sustainability.

  4. Improve capacity management: The fourth step is to optimize the utilization of transport assets, such as vehicles, containers and warehouses. This can help reduce emissions, costs and congestion by avoiding empty or underutilized trips.

  5. Switch to low-carbon modes: The fifth step is to choose transport modes that have lower carbon intensity, such as rail, sea or electric vehicles. This can help reduce emissions per ton-kilometer or passenger-kilometer.

  6. Adopt green technologies: The sixth step is to adopt technologies that can improve energy efficiency or reduce emissions in transport operations, such as fuel-efficient engines,smart sensors, telematics and blockchain. These can help monitor and optimize fuel consumption, vehicle performance, cargo condition and traceability.

  7. Implement circular economy solutions: The seventh step is to adopt solutions that enable the reuse, repair, refurbishment or recycling of products and materials at the end of their lifecycle. This can help reduce waste, extend product lifespan and create new revenue streams.
nine dices on top of each other wit various texts about sustainability


Sustainability is not only a moral duty but also a strategic imperative for the logistics industry. By adopting sustainable logistics practices and technologies, logistics companies can improve their environmental, social and economic performance, while also meeting the expectations of their customers and stakeholders. Sustainability is not a destination but a journey that requires continuous improvement and innovation.

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