Sustainable Warehousing - shelves in warehouse

Trends in Sustainable Warehousing to Cut Carbon Footprint

Christen Martines | August 16, 2023, Julian Bossong, July 26,2023

Understanding that evaluating best practices and then investing in processes that cut carbon footprint makes good sense for today, and for the future.

For those of us operating specialized warehouse and co-packing businesses, having a commitment to sustainability is a strategic choice that aligns with our leading customers’ priorities – and their customers’ increasing demands for environmentally sensitive business practices.

Sustainable warehouse initiatives fall into two broad categories:

– Focusing on your facilities and their carbon footprint.

– Reducing waste all throughout the supply chain.

At your facilities

On the physical plant side, the first question is where are you located? Warehouse sites that are in remotely populated rural areas or in big office park settings that require staff to drive long distances are less desirable from a sustainability standpoint. Strategic warehouse placement can:

– Shorten distance to customers getting their product to you.

– Reduce customers’ delivery distance to retail networks, which increases efficiency in transportation.

– Reduce non-highway miles and the related carbon footprint.

– Increase opportunities for freight backhauling, enabling both optimal freight carbon impact and associated freight pricing benefits.

– Cut the commute for your employees. How your team gets to and from work makes a big difference in both employee morale and your Scope 3 environmental footprint. (That’s why we place our facilities as close to worker homes as possible, near bus stops and at locations that can be reached by bicycle).

– Help meet the demands of CPGs that are onshoring, in an effort to limit global supply-chain hiccups and pivot when consumer trends shift.

The second facilities-focused question you should ask is whether there are upgrades you can consider to your physical plants that will boost efficiency and cut your carbon footprint in your day-to-day operations? Two big ones we are seeing are installing LED lighting and using electric forklifts to move product across the warehouse floors.

Trending Materials and Timely Choices

In addition to implementing smart choices about where we site our warehouses and how we invest in upgrades, we believe the greatest impact for sustainability can result from a laser focus on eliminating waste all through the supply chain, from the design of the packaging to the consumer purchase. Best practices include making sure products stay fresh, that boxes are no bigger than they need to be and that material that goes to the landfill is kept to a minimum. Here are some trends we see that support sustainability:

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