The Road to Sustainability: Minimizing Environmental Impact in Logistics

Sustainability in logistics is necessary to decrease carbon emissions and fight global warming. Learn how industry players are reducing the impact of logistics on the environment.

The year 2023 has seen a near-record surge in carbon dioxide emissions since May 2022 and this fact should concern everyone on the planet. Sustainability in logistics has never been this significant and all industry players should take notice of these serious developments. The Washington Post shared statements from the scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regarding these alarming reports. According to the experts at Scripps, the amount of greenhouse emissions recorded right now are double that of the numbers from before industrialization really took off.   

It's high time that the impact of logistics on the environment be placed at the core of all future strategies related to technological advancements and streamlining operations. Our planet is dying because selfish gains are prioritized over the good of the community and the earth that sustains all life forms. While freight forwarding is just one piece on the chessboard of global environmental impact, every industry must take responsibility for reducing emissions at all levels. If individuals are encouraged and to reduce their carbon footprint, asking industries to step up their sustainability game is a reasonable request.

The environmental impact transport has in freight forwarding is different from regular traffic, and the pollution from shipping in the land mode blends in with the carbon emissions from highway traffic. It’s difficult to measure the amount of damage done to the environment at times, but steps to minimize the impact of logistics on the environment are certainly simple to implement. Through combined effort on national and international fronts, industry players connected to freight forwarding can decrease carbon emissions and help prevent further environmental degradation in the future.  

Importance of sustainability in logistics

The main concept of sustainability is to carry out operations using the least number of resources and creating minimal amounts of waste and environmental impact. Increasing productivity, boosting efficiency, and saving money are other advantages of moving towards a sustainable approach. Smart human resource management is a major component of developing sustainable practices in freight forwarding operations. Going digital is one way freight forwarders and shippers can minimize their carbon footprint and help protect the environment from harm.

The environmental impact transport has is connected to fuel and combustion since combustion produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Global warming is occurring due to an increase in the earth’s temperature, which has catastrophic effects on all forms of life even in small increments. Wildfires are becoming increasingly common as are natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and cyclones. Several parts of the world depend on seasonal rainfall to sustain their agricultural practices, which are now threatened by the adverse effects of global warming on precipitation.

The demand for shipping services has increased at a speed that has created feasibility issues for the industry. When you consider the current impact of logistics on the environment, it’s easy to imagine how much larger this impact could be in the near future. The earth is fast running out of natural resources, which means that most industrial sectors need to shift to renewable resources, especially in the energy sector. Sustainable practices aren’t limited to the logistics operations in the air, ocean, road, or rail modes. True sustainability demands that the offices and warehouses running the operations also meet green standards.   

Lowering the impact of logistics on the environment

Looking at the big picture, you’ll realize that different processes in supply chain management are closely connected. When you apply sustainable practices in one area, you automatically see a positive transformation in another sector.


Having a centralized freight forwarding system goes a long way to ensure that you’re viewing sustainability in logistics as a whole. You save on your expenditures by automating tasks and shortening training times of your employees. When your staff completes tasks in a fraction of the time it took before, you save on electricity and increase overall efficiency. Getting real-time data about your shipments improves route management, decision making, asset safety, and fuel usage.   


Going green is a community effort and everyone in freight forwarding should join hands to help decrease the environmental impact transport has right now. There are organizations dedicated to environment-friendly logistics that you can get in touch with. Extend a hand for green partnerships with like-minded companies. Having the support of your peers has a positive effect on your efforts and strengthens them with the help of your new partners. Look for partners having resources and specialties different from yours.


Freight forwarding companies, shippers, and those providing freight forwarding systems can partner with environmental monitoring and assessment organizations. Numbers never lie and quantification of the impact of logistics on the environment is crucial to resolving this issue. Consider investing in technology that provides data regarding the carbon emissions from your fleet on a regular basis. Every company should be able to record and observe their own data to understand weaknesses and eliminate them to reduce their carbon footprint.  

Renewable energy

As the first step towards sustainability in logistics, you could change the lighting in your offices and warehouses to save energy. Electricity produced by wind or solar power is renewable unlike electricity made by the combustion of fossil fuels. While expensive in the beginning, renewable energy works well for long-term use. You can run various appliances at your warehouse or office on electricity that lowers your carbon footprint by a great amount.   


The poor use of land, especially in warehousing, can lead to the major environmental impact transport sector is notorious for. Deforestation should never be an option since it takes several years for a forest to regrow. Warehouses should be built in areas where the natural habitats of wildlife aren’t disturbed by the company’s operations. The design of warehouses should be optimized for minimal use of electricity, space, and transport. Smart use of land and space can help reduce the electricity and effort required to run warehouses.  

Alternative fuels

Diesel has never been an environment-friendly fuel because it’s a non-renewable source of energy and the combustion process it goes through in a vehicle increases carbon emissions. Cleaner fuels are necessary to lower the impact of logistics on the environment. Natural gas-based fuels such as CNG and LNG are cleaner fuels in comparison to diesel because they have relatively lower carbon emissions. Better driving practices can lower the use of fuel in situations where the excess was not necessary and training is required to properly enforce such standards.  

Waste reduction

Packaging goods safely is important, but it can interfere with sustainability in logistics at times. There’s often no need for extra non-biodegradable packaging material that delivery boxes are stuffed with. Sellers should be more conscious about their environmental impact and focus on biodegradable packaging for the goods they ship to their customers. Safety should be the main priority as the goods need to be safe and organized securely in containers to avoid any kind of damage to them.

 There’s no better time than now to start planning and implementing sustainability in logistics. The transport sector can reduce its carbon footprint through stronger cooperation, digital transformation, improved resource management, upgraded driving standards, decreasing waste production, using alternative fuels, switching to renewable energy, and monitoring the impact of logistics on the environment.