October 13 - A new study by Deutsche Post DHL identifies key developments in sustainable logistics, including the fact that Asian consumers are ready to pay more for green products.
One of the conclusions drawn by the study, Delivering tomorrow: Towards sustainable logistics, the pursuit of sustainability will transform the logistics industry, both in terms of its business model as well as the range of advanced solutions and technologies that will be used by logistics service providers.
Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL, noted that sustainability, especially the reduction of carbon emissions, is already a central aspect of DHL's business and an integral part of its corporate strategy. This is particularly important as more and more customers around the world demand greener logistics.
According to the study, the logistics industry will be key to comprehensive carbon reduction efforts in most sectors due to its unique expertise and positioning along the supply chain. 63 percent of business customers believe that logistics will become a strategic lever for CO2 abatement.
In addition to its strategic economic importance, logistics will increasingly be seen as essential to achieving lower carbon emissions across the economy.
This is both an opportunity and a challenge for logistics service providers. Companies rated best-in-class in terms of environmental, social and governance practices outperform low-sustainability companies by up to 8%. Furthermore, logistics will no longer be viewed as a commodity, where the lowest bidder wins. The leading logistics companies of the future will be those providing sustainable services.
The study also shows that significant carbon reductions can already be achieved within the logistics sector without waiting for major technological breakthroughs.
"The logistics industry can achieve significant carbon reduction results today by making distribution networks more efficient, using the right modes of transportation and by managing load capacities and routes more efficiently," said Appel. "Our aim with the study is to create a more focused debate. The report aims to show how business innovation and green demand can drive a carbon-efficient industry and lead to a low-carbon economy."
The study also shows that carbon pricing mechanisms will accelerate a market-based dynamic toward more sustainable solutions. Once there is a real price tag attributed to carbon emissions, the environment will be an integral part of investment decisions.
Specifically, customers in Asia are ready to accept that sustainable solutions may result in higher prices, and 84 percent of consumers in China, India, Malaysia and Singapore say they would accept a higher price for green products - compared to only 50 percent in Western countries.
Deutsche Post DHL has noticed that, over the past few years, both the acceptance of higher prices and concern about climate protection have influenced its business. For example, the number of CO2 neutral shipments by Deutsche Post DHL almost quintupled between 2008 and 2009 - from 145 million to 704 million.