Earth Overshoot Day is meant to remind us that the Earth's resources are finite. The fact is, we've already 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 transport 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 to this. It is estimated that around a third of the 45 million containers that are transported across the oceans are empty. In other words, we are transporting 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. Fortunately, we're not the only ones. According to the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics' Supply Chain Sustainability Report, the pressure for a more sustainable supply chain is coming from all sides – government agencies, 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: leadership in logistics companies must take ownership of the issue and assume responsibility. This is the only way to achieve real change.
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. To him or her, the best price presumably counts. This is understandable, of course, 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 goal is to give the containers a second life when they arrive at their destination. We resell our containers as much as possible regionally to companies that need the boxes for transport or storage. In this way, we do our part to ensure that fewer empty containers sail the world's oceans, but are used where needed. And if this moves Earth Overshoot Day back only a second, it's well worth the effort.