In a context where the transport and logistics industry is responsible for nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe – particularly following the rise of e-commerce during the pandemic – companies must transform their logistics strategies to reduce their carbon footprint. But finding the right balance between economic and environmental factors is not an easy task. The sector’s players must deal with limited alternatives to fossil fuels, the management of returns and waste, regulations relating to logistics infrastructures (e.g. in terms of energy), or even issues directly linked to their activity such as the “last mile”: the increase in the number of parcels densifies urban traffic, while the presence of motor vehicles in city centers is sometimes questioned (as with the French Crit’Air stickers and “ZFE-m”, or low emission mobility zones).
In addition, last-mile delivery accounts for between 25 and 30% of emissions in urban areas, emphasizing the need to transform vehicle fleets and to choose other transportation modes (for example, collective transport such as rivers, canals or urban rail). As our expert points out, “many studies are being developed on the use of public transport in the context of logistics, outside of peak hours.”
Logistics players must innovate throughout the supply chain to meet these challenges and satisfy consumers who are demanding fast, responsible and flexible delivery solutions. Indeed, consumers are more and more sensitive to sustainable initiatives, from the choice of their products to their shipping and delivery. According to a FEVAD survey, 70% of consumers are willing to wait up to five extra days if it means their delivery will have less impact on the environment. This principle is known as slow logistics. Our expert explains: “Today, as a consumer, I can choose express delivery, which is expensive for me, but also in terms of environmental cost. By choosing a ‘slow’ delivery, it does not cost me more as a buyer, because businesses are the ones who take on the cost of sustainable logistics. And as a company, it allows me to optimize my transportation, and therefore make my logistics greener.”