The environmental and economic benefits of sustainable packaging for businesses
Sustainability has become a hot topic in recent years, and for good reason. The world is facing a climate crisis, and many businesses are starting to realise that they need to do their part to help. One area where sustainability is becoming increasingly important is last mile delivery, which is the final step in the delivery process from the warehouse to the customer.
In this blog post, we will explore the concept of sustainability in last mile delivery, and why it is so important for Australian eCommerce retailers.
What is last mile delivery?
Before we dive into the concept of sustainability in last mile delivery, let’s define what last mile delivery actually is. Last mile delivery refers to the final step in the delivery process, where the package is delivered from the warehouse or distribution center to the customer’s doorstep. This is often the most expensive and time-consuming part of the delivery process, as it involves navigating complex logistics to get the package to its final destination and into the hands of a recipient.
Why is sustainability important in last mile delivery?
The last mile of delivery can have a significant impact on the environment. Delivery vehicles emit greenhouse gases, and the packaging used to protect the products during transport can contribute to waste. As the demand for online shopping continues to grow, the number of last mile deliveries is also increasing. This means more vehicles on the road and a greater impact on the environment.
Sustainability in last mile delivery means finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of this leg of the journey. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as:
- Electric vehicles
- Hyper-localised deliveries
- Optimisating delivery routes
- Click and collect or pick-up, drop off (PUDO) networks
- Sustainable packaging
- And more
But how can Australian eCommerce retailers prioritise sustainability in their last mile delivery operations?
Here’s a few things to consider if you’re just getting started:
Consider carriers who use electric vehicles
One of the most significant ways that eCommerce retailers can reduce the environmental impact of last mile delivery is by integrating with carriers who use electric vehicles. Electric vehicles produce zero emissions, which can help to reduce the carbon footprint of deliveries. Some courier companies in Australia like Australia Post and Bonds are already use electric vehicles for last mile delivery, and other companies are likely to follow suit as the technology becomes more widely available.
Use recyclable packaging materials
Another way to reduce the environmental impact of last mile delivery is by using recyclable packaging materials, or repurposing existing packaging to create a product return. Many packaging materials, such as plastic, are not recyclable and can contribute to waste. By using materials that can be recycled, eCommerce retailers can help to reduce the amount of waste that is generated by their deliveries.
Optimise your shipping and delivery
Another way to reduce the environmental impact of last mile delivery is by optimising your shipping and delivery. Use software that can analyse carrier performance and logistic networks experiencing delays and disruptions. eCommerce retailers can find the best carrier for each leg of a parcel’s journey and understand how their current courier providers are performing. This can help reduce the likelihood of bottlenecks and stalling so retailers can keep packages moving. This can help to reduce the number of kilometres a parcel travels out on the road, which in turns, reduces emissions and saves time and money.
Partner with technology that prioritises a sustainable last-mile
An easy step for Australian eCommerce retailers can take to prioritise sustainability in last mile is by partnering with technology that removes waste and inefficiencies throughout the last-mile process. Reducing the number of vehicles out on the road starts by knowing where they are located and where they are headed. Carriers can avoid doubling up on routes, or circling around the same suburbs to deliver an item. Technology like Shippit can help eCommerce retailers to reduce their carbon footprint and offer customers who are looking for sustainable delivery options at checkout.
Looking to understand how we achieve a sustainable last-mile a little further? Register now for our upcoming Sustainability Keynote at #SCALE2023 on 18 May. A leading expert at Accenture will discuss how the path towards a net-neutral future starts with a greener last mile.