Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of environmental waste. You know that it exists, and that it’s a problem. But the gravity of the issue may still come as a shock. According to one World Bank study, pollution accounts for 9 million premature deaths and $5.7 trillion every year (that’s 4.8% of global GDP!).
We all want clean air to breathe and water to drink, both for us and for future generations. The question is, how do we get there? And how should supply chain leaders address waste, while also keeping the world’s economy moving?
We may not have solar-powered airplanes or carbon-neutral trucks yet, but that doesn’t mean sitting on our hands and waiting for someone else to fix the problem for us. One way that executives are tackling pollution is by moving towards a circular economy.
If that phrase sounds unfamiliar, don’t worry. A circular economy simply refers to a system in which materials are kept in use, instead of thrown away. According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, ‘A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.’ This is contrasted with a ‘linear economy’, the current default of harvesting resources and throwing away products at the end of their life.
Sustainability is not a new concept to us at Able Freight. We started a reusable foil initiative and our temperature tags can be used from the West Coast to Hawaii and back. Our reusable materials cut out physical waste and protect against temperature excursions. Efficiency improves on our end, and we pass those savings right along to our customers.
The shift towards a circular economy is going to create some interesting opportunities for perishables logistics. It will take a lot of new technology - think analytics, reusable devices within the Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning. An emphasis on extending shelf life for as long as possible is going to require changes throughout the product’s life cycle. And a commitment to collaboration on a level not seen before.
Circularity will take a little while to achieve, no doubt. Even with many advances in place, we can’t overhaul the ‘take, make, waste’ model overnight. But with a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of teamwork, we can together make the planet a more sustainable place to live, maybe even sooner than we think.
There’s no better time than right now to leave a legacy in the cold chain. Let’s do it together.
- Your Able Freight team