3 Innovations Driving Sustainability in Supply Chains
Sustainability has been an increasingly important topic of conversation in business operations. In order to better understand the source of harmful gas emissions, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol has broken them down into three categories:
Scope 1 – All direct emissions from the activities of an organization that are under their control.
Scope 2 – Indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used by the organization.
Scope 3 – All other direct emissions from the activities of the organization from sources they don’t own or control.
Scope 3 emissions are the biggest problem for shippers. Reducing them through sustainability initiatives is especially complicated because they are indirect in nature and require engagement throughout the supply chain. However, consumer priorities have shifted in recent years and they are more inclined to do work with businesses that have initiatives in place. A recent supply chain report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) revealed that over 1,000 companies are working to reduce their scope 3 emissions and 94% of them have science-based targets to help reach their goals. Here are a few different innovations and technologies helping supply chains work towards a more sustainable future:
Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Logistics companies and airlines have been working towards creating and using more sustainable aviation fuel. Kuehne + Nagel and American Airlines recently announced they are going to invest in 11 million liters of sustainable fuel. Things like plants, used cooking oil and solid waste can all be used to make a version of aviation fuel that’s better for the environment.
Research conducted by The Association of American Railroads revealed that if 25% of truck traffic moving at least 750 miles went by rail instead, annual greenhouse gas emissions would fall by approximately 13.1 million tons. Moving freight by train instead of truck has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%. BNSF and Wabtec are creating a train powered by a battery instead of an engine that could reduce the transportation industry’s carbon footprint even more.
Alternative Truck Fuel
Battery-electric vehicles, fuel-cell-electric vehicles and vehicles that run on renewable fuels are the most widely discussed alternatives to vehicles dependent on fuel. Large truck manufacturers are looking into battery-electric vehicles and full-cell-electric vehicles because of their success in standard cars. The biggest challenge so far has been batteries – a larger truck needs a larger battery which is heavier and takes more time and energy to charge. However, renewable fuels show promise too. Energy company Neste is selling its own renewable diesel that cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% in comparison to petroleum diesel.
The driving force behind these sustainable innovations is technology. As alternative fuels and trucks continue to be developed, it will be interesting to see exactly what the future of sustainability in supply chains looks like!