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Earth Overshoot Day is meant to remind us that the Earth's resources are finite. Already, we've used as much energy and natural resources as humanity should use in an entire year to sustainably manage our planet. And it's only July.
Logistics, and transportation in general, is a problem child when it comes to sustainability. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment calculated back in 2016 that transport was the only sector that could not reduce its CO2 emissions between 1990 and 2016 - unlike, for example, the energy sector or the real estate industry. And of course, the container business also contributes its share. It is estimated that around a third of the 45 million containers that move across the oceans are empty. We transport air in steel boxes on huge, diesel-powered container ships.
Leaders must take responsibility for green supply chains
At Eveon, we believe things can't go on like this. And fortunately, we're not the only ones. According to the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics' Supply Chain Sustainability Report, pressure for a more sustainable supply chain is coming from all sides - government entities, investors and even employees are demanding sustainable engagement. However, a key finding of the study is that pressure from leaders in a company, in particular, leads to concrete actions being initiated and implemented. This is an important message to our industry: the leadership in logistics companies must take ownership of the issue and assume responsibility. This is the only way to achieve a real change in thinking.
Don't leave offsetting to the end customer
The person who exerts the least pressure when it comes to sustainability in the supply chain is the end customer. For him, the best price presumably counts. This is understandable, since most companies do not incentivize or reward a buyer's sustainability efforts. As long as this is the case, we at Eveon Containers have chosen to offset the CO2 emissions of our container shipments through our partner Landlife Company - without passing on the additional costs to our customers.
We take this effort for granted - after all, our concern is to give the containers a second life when they arrive at their destination. We resell our containers as best we can regionally, to companies that need the boxes for transport or storage capacity. In this way, we do our part to ensure that fewer empty containers sail the world's oceans, but are used where they are needed. And if this moves Earth Overshoot Day back just a second, that would already be a win.