How to find a green logistics partner

20 February 2020

Sustainability is now a board-level concern for a growing number of businesses, as the UK works towards an ambitious goal of reducing its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. As organisations strive to minimise their carbon footprint throughout their supply chains, however, many are finding that decarbonising their logistics is a real challenge.


The transport sector is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change, and it already accounts for a significant proportion (around 27%) of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. This means that we’ll need to make some fundamental changes to our current transportation systems, which are currently heavily reliant on fossil fuels, if we’re going to reach net-zero by 2050. As businesses own over half of all new registered vehicles on the road, the actions they take to reduce the environmental impact of their logistics will have a significant impact on whether or not we reach our goal.


With door-to-door delivery becoming the new normal and customer expectations around delivery timelines already putting pressure on supply chain logistics, decarbonisation will be a huge challenge for many organisations. Finding the right logistics partner can be critical in overcoming this challenge, as their efforts to reduce their environmental impact are likely to have a significant impact on a business’ green credentials.  


Sustainability in logistics is about so much more than fuel type. Businesses that are serious about sustainability should look beyond the obvious, to a logistics partner that provides:


Optimised packaging


It’s important that businesses think about how they can optimise their packaging for transportation, as minimising waste is key to saving carbon. Over a third of retailers admit the packages they ship worldwide are at least double the size of the actual product inside, for example. Size-optimised packaging could enable more products to be loaded into trucks or vans, which could reduce the number of vehicles required to transport them - along with the organisation’s carbon emissions as a result.


However, logistics providers also have a key role to play, as the pallets they use can make a real difference to the overall sustainability of their transportation. GEFCO’s foldable containers maximise truck loading rates, for example, and they’re also reusable, which keeps waste to a minimum. Our containers are also produced using 100% recyclable materials, so if they break, we can recycle them.


Reusable Packaging Solutions Leaflet

Empowering your logistics with our reusable packaging solutions

pdf, 335 KB


Sustainable storage


Products aren’t just creating emissions when they’re on the move - the warehouses they’re stored in can also have a substantial impact on the environment. So businesses that are focused on implementing sustainability practices throughout their supply chain should be seeking logistics providers with eco-friendly warehouses.


There are many simple actions logistics providers can take to reduce the carbon footprint of their warehouses, from installing LED lighting to reducing their amount of waste and recycling. If the products stored require a temperature-controlled environment, then automating the temperature control within the warehouse is a straightforward switch that can make a real difference in terms of carbon savings. GEFCO is prioritising simple sustainability actions like these across its global warehouses. 


We’re also trialling ways to reduce the impact of our warehouses even further. We’ve installed a solar canopy power plant at our warehouse in Courgenay, Switzerland, for example, and we use some of the energy it produces to charge the electric vehicles we import. In total, the electricity the solar canopy generates saves around 2,400 tonnes of CO2 every year.


Warehousing Leaflet

Increase the performance of your supply chain

pdf, 368 KB


Efficient mobility


When goods are on the move, the focus should be on getting them to their destination in the most efficient way possible. To achieve this, businesses should look for logistics providers that can provide multimodal transport, so they can assess and advise on the best way to transport goods for maximum efficiency. This is particularly important for businesses that operate globally, as sending goods by air will have a significant impact on their carbon footprint, so having the option to move goods by road or rail instead can increase their green credentials.


As 78% of goods moved within the UK are transported by road, many companies will need to find a logistics provider that can offer efficient road solutions. And while the technology to support electric trucks is still evolving, logistics providers can still ensure they’re properly maintaining their fleet of vehicles so they’re running as efficiently as possible and replacing older vehicles with models that meet Euro 5 / 6 standards.


At GEFCO, we’re always looking for new ways to make the way we move goods more efficient. We’re trialling a Connected Truck programme, for example, in which live routing software provides our drivers with real-time information to optimise their route, reducing their miles driven and their CO2 emissions. We’re already using double-trailer trucks in some areas, which increases loading capacity and again decreases emissions. Our Innovation Factory is also experimenting with platooning (2-3 semi-automated trucks travelling in convoy). which could deliver some significant emissions savings once certain regulatory and technical hurdles are overcome.


Your sustainable partner

We understand that many businesses are looking to increase their sustainability throughout their supply chain. That’s why we are striving to minimise the impact of our activities on the environment, so we can provide companies with a more sustainable logistics solution moving forward.

6.5 Million

Owned reusable packaging units


Anuall decrese in CO2 emissions

Sustainable Thinking