Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a major problem. Companies around the globe are doubling down in their efforts to achieve meaningful GHG reductions. As reported by the International Transport Forum in 2016, “international trade-related freight transport accounts for 30% of all transport-related emissions.” With significant variability between the emissions policies of individual governments and companies, it’s no surprise that emission reductions on a truly global scale mean looking closer at freight forwarders and trade services’ providers. But are global freight forwarders genuinely concerned, and even if they are, how can you ensure your freight forwarders keep global emissions at bay?
How Important Is Global Emissions Tracking in Freight Forwarding?
Emissions reductions are a growing area of focus for all supply chains, and the ability to understand and control, read “reduce” emissions is at the forefront of the industry.
According to the renowned Smart Freight Centre-accredited Searoutes, “In discussions with global freight forwarders, [we have] confirmed what has long been on the radar and never realized: Forwarders themselves are working to adjust their services and offerings to enable shippers to choose between the fastest, the cheapest or greenest route. In turn, this requires that the forwarder get visibility on carrier-level CO2 performance. This evolution of choice based on specific requirements bolsters the mission of freight forwarders making emission reduction not only a strategic priority but a tangible product so that buying and marketing ‘Green’ and ‘Sustainability’ is more than a marketing gimmick but a true and measurable endeavor.”
These words are powerful and exemplify the true value of attaining meaningful emissions reductions in global forwarding. In turn, companies, whether a customs brokerage or forwarding service provider, that do pursue such relationships will enjoy the benefits of both better service and associated cost reductions. In fact, tracking extra care and showing transportation by even a single day could yield double-digit savings. That’s a reality we’ve all seen done to fruition as the market rebalancing continues.
Steps to Evaluate a Forwarders Commitment to GHG Emissions Reductions
Before diving into the specific steps to evaluate a forwarder’s commitment to GHG emissions reductions, it’s important to understand why these steps are necessary. The global freight forwarding industry plays a significant role in GHG emissions, and every effort to reduce these emissions counts.
Freight forwarders, as key players in this industry, have a responsibility to minimize their environmental impact. By taking the time to thoroughly evaluate a forwarder’s commitment to emissions reduction, shippers can ensure they are partnering with companies that share their values and commitment to sustainability. This not only benefits the environment but can also enhance the shipper’s brand image and customer appeal. Now, let’s look at the specific steps you can take to assess a forwarder’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions.
Understand Their Emissions Tracking Method
Freight forwarders committed to reducing GHG emissions should have a clear and transparent method for tracking their emissions. This could be through the use of technology or partnerships with organizations that specialize in emissions tracking. Ask potential forwarders about their tracking methods and how they use this data to reduce their emissions.
Check Their Sustainability Policies
A forwarder’s commitment to reducing emissions should be clearly stated in their sustainability policies. These policies should outline their goals for emissions reduction, the strategies they are using to achieve these goals, and their timeline for implementation.
Look for Certifications and Partnerships
Many organizations offer certifications to companies that meet certain environmental standards. Forwarders that are serious about reducing emissions will often have one or more of these certifications, especially the Smart Freight Centre for international transportation and SmartWay-approved carriers for US-based needs. Additionally, partnerships with environmental organizations can also indicate a commitment to sustainability.
Evaluate Their Green Initiatives
Apart from tracking emissions and having sustainability policies, forwarders can take other actions to reduce their environmental impact. This could include initiatives like using more efficient vehicles, optimizing routes to reduce fuel consumption, leveraging smart load tools, or investing in renewable energy sources for their operations.
Ask About Their Carrier Selection Process
Freight forwarders work with a variety of carriers to transport goods. A forwarder’s commitment to reducing emissions should extend to their carrier selection process, including considerations for a forwarder’s adherence to sustainability requirements within specific free trade zones, such as those in California. They should prioritize working with carriers that also have strong sustainability practices.
Demand Regular Emissions Reports
A forwarder that is committed to reducing emissions should be able to provide regular reports on their emissions. These reports can help you track the forwarder’s progress toward their sustainability goals and ensure they are staying accountable.
Take a Proactive Stand to Reduce Emissions by Choosing GEODIS as Your Global Freight Forwarder
Ensuring your freight forwarder is committed to reducing GHG emissions involves a combination of understanding their tracking methods, evaluating their sustainability policies, checking for relevant certifications and partnerships, assessing their green initiatives, and demanding regular emissions reports. By taking these steps, you can contribute to the global effort to reduce GHG emissions and make your supply chain more sustainable. Lastly, connect with a GEODIS Freight Forwarding team member now to skip the above and start reducing your emissions in your value chain now.