How can you cut carbon emissions in your supply chain - OfficeTeam

How can you cut carbon emissions in your supply chain

In the UK every year, the commercial sector contributes to 33% of the annually generated carbon emissions. While UK businesses are beginning to implement electric vehicles in their fleet, the Government aims to ensure drastic improvement occurs to the environmental efficiency of the entire delivery process. It is now more vital than ever for companies to look to improve not just the environmental credentials of their delivery fleet, but also at implementing new emerging technologies to help cut carbon emissions.

With this in mind, what can your business do to reduce the CO2 in your supply chain?

Green deliveries

After the Government’s zero emissions strategy was announced, many businesses have begun investing in green alternatives throughout their delivery fleet, most notably, electric vehicles (EV). Currently, 89% of fleet managers believe EV will become a focal point of their fleets by 2030. While six in ten fleet managers cite environmental sustainability as the main focus, others cite reduced fuel and maintenance costs.

However, in spite of the overwhelming support for EVs, many fleet managers fear the upfront cost will be too high for them to successfully implement throughout their fleet, while others have voiced concerns over long charge times, reduced travelling distances and a lack of charging infrastructure. The Government has acknowledged these concerns and has identified infrastructure development as a critical area of improvement within the zero-emissions strategy. For instance, investment in national charging points and offering grants of up to 75% of the total cost for businesses investing in charge points; helping make it easier for businesses to invest.

Additionally, supply chain consolidation is another way to reduce the total CO2 generated, as fewer deliveries mean less carbon emissions. Currently, for many companies 80% of their suppliers account for just 20% of their procurement spend. These low value high volume products are leading to a larger number of deliveries fulfilled, and subsequently more vans on the road. However, if companies choose suppliers who can consolidate ordering and streamline the process into one delivery, this will lead to significant reductions in the carbon emissions generated.

Another notable area of investment is double deck trailers, alleged to be a pivotal contributor to the reduction of carbon emissions by 2020. With deliveries consolidated into one lorry, this allows businesses to load up to double the amount of product into a single shipment, providing significant benefit within industries such as business supplies and retail.

Furthermore, companies such as Tesla are hard-at-work creating the cutting edge of technology – entirely electric trucks. Tesla’s ‘Semi’ vehicle is the first heavy-duty, fully electric delivery lorry created by the company. The Tesla Semi vehicle is said to be able to travel up to 600 miles on a single charge while carrying up to 36 tonnes of cargo. These new emerging innovative technologies will allow supply chains to eliminate CO2, while not hindering the ability to ship large numbers of goods across long distances. This will have an enormously beneficial impact on the environment and the push towards zero emissions.

In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year. We believe the Tesla Semi vehicle will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.

- Elon Musk

Smarter supply chain

Alongside improving the efficiency of delivery vehicles, a simple, cost effective and efficient way of reducing the carbon emissions your supply chain generates, is streamlining the route and number of deliveries fulfilled at any one time – most notably achieved with new emerging in-vehicle technologies.

As we continue to invest in national infrastructures such as 5G, we will unlock the potential of smarter in vehicle systems such as Vehicle-to-Vehicle connectivity, offering delivery drivers and Supply Chain Managers real-time information about road conditions – leading to faster, more efficient and dynamic route guidance. These enhanced real-time delivery tracking systems allow companies to plan smarter and more intelligent delivery routes; fulfilling more deliveries at once and ultimately, reducing the amount of time they’re on the road.

To ensure carbon emission reductions are being met by companies, programmes such as Masternaut’s offer a CO2 reduction certification to companies who have provably reduced the generated carbon emissions of their fleet. With in-vehicle systems  measuring the sustainability of a company’s fleet, the Fleet CO2.

Reduction Programme is aimed at reducing the total amount of generated carbon emissions through a number of ways; tracking fuel consumption, monitoring driver behaviours and effective route planning.

Additionally, initiative offerings such as reverse logistics can help your business to reduce your environmental impact by consolidating your deliveries and recycling pick up to one driver. Reverse logistics is a service which sees suppliers collecting recycling waste such as printer toners and furniture at the point of fulfilling a delivery. This allows you to create a more sustainable and green supply chain, cutting carbon emissions by reducing your suppliers but also limiting the amount of waste your business sends to landfill.


While many businesses are beginning to invest in their own companies ‘green’ capabilities, it is crucial that you ensure the supply chain your business relies on also shares your sustainability goals.

There are many ways your company can considerably reduce its supply chain’s environmental impact by merely prioritising suppliers who operate double-deck delivery vehicles, have on-going sustainable fleet plans, state-of-the-art route-planning software, invest in driver capabilities and, finally, provide intelligent delivery offerings and consolidated ordering

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