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Introduction and challenges

Driving toward sustainable distribution is a critical aspect of achieving a business’ overall environmental strategy. While distribution efficiencies and sound environmental practices can go hand in hand – for example, increased load fill means fewer journeys, and so lower emissions and lower costs – distribution operations are facing a major ecological transition driven by government regulations and changing consumer expectations.

Governments are taxing fossil fuel usage and CO2 production heavily, and imposing measures to improve local environments including parking restrictions, lorry bans, urban tolls, and focuses on air quality, further complicating the existing challenges around last mile logistics. Eco-savvy end consumers are demanding that businesses offer locally sourced products, transported via the cleanest modes of transport, in recyclable or reusable packaging, stored in low-impact warehouses.

Many businesses are rethinking their distribution strategies in light of these factors to drive competitiveness. However, these environmentally responsible concerns have to be balanced against customers’ ever-increasing service expectations, especially considering returns flows.

Businesses need to stay on the front foot, adopt innovations where they help save money and bolster eco-credentials, and be seen to be leading environmentally to keep their customers satisfied and ensure their competitors do not leave them behind.

How we can help

Argon & Co integrates sustainable development into its various logistics studies (service strategy, network, logistics performance and transport etc.) and supports companies in their specific projects to reduce the environmental impact of their distribution:

  • Challenging the service offer by integrating the value perceived by the customer, profitability and environmental impact
  • Realisation of logistics plans integrating the environmental dimension (CO2 balance) in addition to the cost and service dimensions
  • CO2 footprint reduction strategy through detailed analysis of logistics and transport emissions, integrating operational performance (real occupancy rate), calculating the footprint of the building stock and machines, and making recommendations for reduction levers (including modifications to modes of transport)
  • Comparative analysis of more environmentally friendly logistics packaging solutions (including reusable), with economic and environmental business cases and assistance in setting up (reverse supply chain)
  • Business case for transition from air transport to less emissive modes of transport (maritime or rail) with full impact on deadlines, costs, stocks and the environment
  • Implementation of ‘turnkey’ systems for container trackers via IoT technology to better arbitrate on the roads and secure the conditions of maritime or rail transport (geolocation, temperature measurement, hygrometry etc.)
  • Assessment of sustainable distribution maturity using our scprime® methodology and definition of an action plan to improve