RLA News & Views

From Storage to Sustainability: How the Warehouse of the Future is Helping to Drive the Circular Economy


May 22, 2023

Companies are more focused on their supply chains than ever before and are looking for new and innovative ways to maximize efficiencies and minimize costs. What more and more of these companies are realizing is that the right logistics partner can help them to minimize emissions at the same time – creating serious economic and environmental benefits.

The environmental sustainability conversation is currently laser-focused on greenhouse gas emissions. Companies are responding by taking a hard look at their operational and energy-related emissions. But many are also going further and actively engaging in the circular economy.

The circular economy focuses on maximizing value while minimizing waste, throughout each stage of the cycle – and highly efficient supply chains are at the heart of making it work.

World-class logistics providers can work with brands to reduce emissions associated with products through efficient forward and reverse logistics, decreasing the need for excess manufacturing and reducing the amount of product that must be heavily discounted or discarded. All segments of logistics can be optimized for energy and resource use, but product returns, or reverse logistics, merit increased attention.

Most of us have experienced it in our own lives. Rather than going to a store to try on five pairs of shoes in order to find the one that fits, we may instead order those five pairs to be delivered to our home and then ship back the four that didn’t work. With each passing day that those items sit on a warehouse pallet, their value likely decreases, as does the likelihood that they will find themselves in a discount or trash bin. If the returned items have been in any way soiled or damaged in the process, it becomes increasingly unlikely that they find their way into the hands of the next consumer. According to BBC Earth, product returns generate an estimated 5 billion pounds of waste worldwide every year. All this waste — and wasted opportunity —generates greenhouse gas emissions, which efficient warehouse operations can reduce.

Companies that look at contract logistics providers as little more than a place to store inventory are missing a big opportunity to maximizing value while minimizing waste and succeeding in the circular economy.

By using technology, scale and expertise in global supply chains, logistics experts such as GXO can help customers follow the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. And someday, potentially a fourth R — Refill.

Read the full article here: https://gxo.com/news_article/unlock-the-benefits-of-a-circular-supply-chain/?utm_medium=email&utm_content=rq3HklhHrZJ5MTuYlfmlEq3So0mGpzdWHJDxuMqO8ZRGr2kUSc7XnQJ5p-J1lGsW