Once online retail giants eBay and Amazon opened doors for customers online, there and then, the big e-commerce revolution began. Today we see a number of big players in the marketplace keeping up with the large demand by shoppers for quick and safe deliveries. This has opened a disconcerting discussion regarding the environmental impact logistics companies have on the ever-increasing demand from customers and the outstripping efficiency they operate at. 

What is the carbon footprint of your parcel? 1

When we are dropping the term- ‘carbon footprint’ , we mean the whole impact from packaging your parcel to the last mile of your delivery. There are a number of factors which affect the sustainability status of your shipping, the heaviest one being transport and petrol use per fleet of vehicles. Distribution centers are another main reason for environmental concern due to the poor energy efficiency in those buildings. Parcel packaging will also be discussed briefly in the context of pollution and the total carbon footprint of your deliveries.

Zendfast, like all other delivery solutions, accounts for some fraction of the carbon emissions every year. One may think of courier companies as damaging for the environment but it’s important to think about green innovation which we stay on top of as a responsible provider. If you consider the combined impact of modern people and a scenario in which delivery companies did not exist, everyone would have had to travel larger distances and contribute further to the carbon footprint in their community and globally.

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Vehicle use

Use of cars, vans and other delivery vehicles is undoubtedly a substantial contributing factor  for the rising levels of greenhouse gases round the world. There are many discussions whether driving electric cars solves all of our problems, since these are also not as environmentally friendly as a lot of you may think. The process of sourcing the rare earth metals necessary to produce the batteries in electric cars has a considerable negative impact on the environment. Choosing to buy a fleet of petrol or diesel vehicles is also a point of consideration by some delivery companies, but the carbon footprint of burning one or the other is nearly the same. More research and innovation is taking place as we speak, so we are looking forward to finding better and greener alternatives for the traditional choice range of vehicles in the upcoming future.

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Distribution centers

We already mentioned that vast building spaces can be energy inefficient, if not conditioned and maintained appropriately. This includes cooling and heating of the premises to maintain a stable temperature environment for storage and handling of the packages. Using energy efficient light bulbs and implementation of standard procedures in these premises are important to have so that you can ensure maximum utilization of the pre-calculated energy resources, provided for each month. Automation and planning are crucial to keep distribution centres both functional and energy efficient at the same time.

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Parcel Packaging

Packaging materials are another main consideration, which we need to footnote in this article. Even though a lot of our packages arrive pre-packed, we are still responsible for the appropriate sealing to ensure the safe transit and delivery of your items. Using cardboard over plastic is always the preferred choice in this hard battle, but one should also consider the carbon footprint of all materials, rather than just the synthetic ones. We are hoping that we will see more biodegradable packaging from alternative sources in the delivery network in the near future. In the meantime, we encourage customers to reuse and recycle their used packaging, where possible.

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Green innovation

Route planning systems

Traffic congestions are big polluter and one must always look to avoid them, where possible. Road accidents also result in congestion and more air pollution in the city. This is why we have the innovative digital technology that allows us to pre-plan our routes and help us to avoid the busy hot spots. Our intelligent route planning system which works through GPS and tracking reduces road times significantly thus lowering the total carbon footprint of the vehicle! 

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On-demand deliveries

Our dispatch automation system helps us organize our on-demand deliveries at the start of every day. Having a working system that allows to sort parcels by location and even by time of delivery is important for the smooth operation of multi-drop deliveries in the same-day or next-day time window. This way we ensure that our drivers are being efficient with their time on the road, but also more environmentally friendly by being behind the wheel for a living.

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Future outlook

There are a lot of hopes that the future will bring more green innovation! There are a number of research bodies and private organizations working on renewable fuel technologies, self-driving cars, delivery drones, and whatnot. Sustainability has always been taking an integral part in the logistics domain, but it has been only a decade or two ago when the real online revolution happened, asking for more urgent change and greener alternatives. As a responsible courier company, we are always going further with innovation, technology, and sustainable approaches in the sector.

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