Sustainability is a key consumer concern today. Innova Market Insights Research found that 85% of US and UK consumers expected companies to invest in sustainability in 2019, up from 64% in 2018, and environmental sustainability is even more important to them than ethical and social issues when choosing a brand. This trend has driven leading brands to proudly commit to ambitious sustainability goals, including responsible sourcing, reducing emissions, sustainable packaging and ingredient transparency.
As consumers demand sustainability from brands, brand owners are demanding it from their suppliers, who in turn demand it from their suppliers, and so on throughout the supply chain. But how can brands guarantee sustainability throughout a global cargo system that is as complex as it is carbon-intensive? How can supply chain providers meet increasingly stringent sustainability requirements without impacting their profit margins and turnaround times? Below are three ways that advanced tracking and monitoring of goods in transit can improve sustainability.
Prevent waste with cargo monitoring
Sustainability isn’t only about reducing carbon emissions — it’s also about minimizing waste. Waste can occur in any part of the supply chain, including in transit. For example, when sensitive goods are shipped without the proper quality control and tracking, they can be damaged or ruined, leading to waste.
Let’s look at waste reduction in an industry notorious for its poor sustainability — beef. Beef, like all meat, is a sensitive cargo. If exposed to high temperatures or to contamination in-transit, it has to be discarded. In addition to the financial loss, throwing beef away is an environmental disaster. More cows are raised, leading to more pollution, not to mention additional labor and loss of animal life. If beef is properly monitored and tracked while in transit, using, for example, Contguard’s tracking and monitoring solution, this type of waste can be prevented.
Keep energy burners to a minimum
In some cases, concern for product quality can lead manufacturers and supply chain providers to be justifiably cautious.
For example, one of Contguard’s clients was shipping its goods in refrigerated, or reefer containers. Reefer containers are major energy guzzlers, powered by the vessel’s generator or by mobile power packs when the generator does not have the capacity to support the additional power consumption. The additional power demand raises the cargo’s carbon footprint significantly. And that’s not all — refrigerated containers frequently leak refrigerant on the vessel, creating additional pollution.
Using precise data and advanced analytics, Contguard was able to demonstrate that refrigerated containers were not required for the transportation of the company’s goods, as long as humidity was monitored in regular containers. The customer significantly reduced the energy used in transit, leading to savings of several million USD and reducing pollution by more than 50%.
Go by sea, not by air
Another way to boost sustainability for goods in transit is to transport goods by sea rather than air. In addition to being much less expensive than air shipping, sea transport also has a significantly lower carbon footprint. However, brands often choose air travel because they are concerned that their products will be susceptible to security and quality risks at sea. Advanced cargo tracking and monitoring can quell their concerns and lead them to choose the less expensive, more sustainable sea option. Although sea travel is slower than air, tools like Contguard’s predictive analytics can also help companies optimize their shipping routes, making them more competitive than air options.
To sum up, supply chain sustainability is a key driver for brands today. By optimizing tracking and monitoring in transit, with solutions like those offered by Contguard, brands, and the supply chain providers they work with, can save costs and reduce waste, while minimizing their carbon footprint.