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Side of a green shipping container with the word ‘green’ on it to represent sustainability in shipping services

Sustainability practices 2021: Brand impact

Written by Beth Owens on January 12th, 2021

In the past few years, sustainability has become a major buzzword within the corporate world. Yet key stakeholders are now expecting tangible action from all levels of business.

With impressive technological advances and new methods for reducing carbon footprints, merchants now have a variety of strategies available to them to achieve more sustainable businesses. 

As we head into 2021, this should be a major consideration across your operation. 

Why? Because when faced with the grim environmental and economic predictions of the climate crisis, no vendor is immune to shifting consumer habits and expectations.

In this post, we’re going to discuss why sustainability should matter to merchants – and how PLG can help you to reduce your environmental impact.

Why merchants should be implementing sustainability practices in 2021

Fulfilling consumer expectations

Today, sustainability isn’t just a desirable trait in business – it’s an expectation on behalf of many consumers. As environmental concerns move increasingly to the forefront of the national agenda, consumers are looking to support brands that align with their values and concerns – and will avoid those that don’t. 

According to the Balancing Sustainability and Profitability Survey, 61% of consumers now expect brands to have a clear set of sustainability practices, while 47% would abandon brands if they acted contrary to these values. 

In sum, sustainability is no longer a passing trend; your relevance to consumers increasingly hinges on your ability to demonstrate a substantial commitment to the environment. 

Achieving significant cost reductions

Over the past few years, we have seen sustainability and sustainable practices become synonymous with ‘expensive’. Discussions about changes to supply chain management and difficulties with achieving economies of scale have framed sustainable practices as being about upfront costs – rather than long-term investments that considerably lower operating costs over time.

So, while energy-efficient lighting and renewable energy sources like solar panels might be expensive on installation, they typically pay for themselves over a ten- to fifteen-year period – and can cut your energy bills by as much as half

Roof of a city building with solar panels and view of the skyline in the background

In the same vein, sending out over-packaged products is far costlier a strategy than one which minimizes waste through the more efficient use of materials.

With this kind of long-term strategic planning, sustainability can actually put your business on track to raise its bottom line – and attract those aforementioned conscious consumers.

Protecting our planet

In 2021, this should be something of a no-brainer across every industry – we are currently undergoing a global climate crisis with the potential to fundamentally alter our ecosystems and impact our quality of life. Every business, large or small, plays a critical role in alleviating the impact of climate change.

But the impact of climate change isn’t just environmental. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the ongoing effects of climate change could cost the U.S. economy up to 10.5% of GDP by 2100 if decisive action is not taken. 

In sum, sustainability is now an issue for every business – no matter whether sustainability plays a key role in their brand positioning or identity. 

How PLG is leading the logistics industry in sustainability strategies

Port Logistics Group is committed to taking a leading role in providing high-performance sustainability solutions for the logistics and transportation sector:

Multi-node fulfillment

PLG has pioneered a decentralized, multi-node strategy to fulfillment through the strategic placement of its facilities close to consumer demand hubs. This is backed by our advanced, real-time management systems that send orders to the facility closest to the end customer – thus shortening travel distances for delivery and lowering carbon emissions through more efficient transportation routes.

Sustainable packaging 

With packaging materials responsible for up to a third of all household waste in the United States, PLG takes seriously its responsibility to help vendors reduce packaging waste by implementing more eco-friendly designs and materials – thus lowering their own carbon footprints and raising the sustainable profile of eCommerce as a whole.

A cardboard shipping box with paper packing material inside

As a value-added service, we work with a wide range of packaging suppliers to source and seamlessly integrate sustainable packaging strategies into your order fulfillment process across eCommerce, retail and wholesale – no matter what MOQs or specifications you require.

Renewable energy and waste reduction

With 7 million square feet of warehouse roofing across the U.S, we are making the most out of this vast spacial resource through the installation of solar panels – a major step towards achieving a nationwide operation with zero carbon footprint. We are complementing this approach with automatic lighting solutions to reduce energy wastage and incur significant cost savings across our facilities. 

Low-emission transportation fleets

PLG operates SmartWay certified fleets to reduce our carbon footprint nationwide. SmartWay is an EPA-sponsored program that requires its partners to meet stringent requirements concerning fuel efficiency, the effective movement of goods in transit, and effects on air quality to lessen the overall impact of the domestic freight industry.

A Port Logistics Group truck on the highway

We are continuing to expand our clean-powered drayage and delivery fleets into facilities across the U.S, and maximize the use of off-peak operations at our major gateways to reduce idle times for our trucks – thereby reducing emissions further and resulting in clear, greener logistics operations for our clients.

As a nationwide omnichannel provider with 18 facilities across the United States, PLG continues to embrace new strategies for lowering emissions and achieving greener, more efficient logistics operations for its clients. Contact us today to find out more about our efforts and how we can help you to meet your sustainability objectives.

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