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Why logistics could destroy our planet

Blog | Why logistics could destroy our planet

You don’t have to be an environmentalist or be passionate about logistics to know that this sector is one of the biggest sources of major air pollutants.

There is no way of denying its role in the increasing deterioration of our environment, despite private or public prevention initiatives. The key to solving the issue lies at the core of the problem: transport pooling, optimization of rounds, supplying fleets with more sustainable vehicles, production and/or use of renewable energy are only some of the ways of relieving our planet.

In the meantime, the climate is already changing drastically: ice melting (Greenland, Arctic and Antarctic), global sea level rise, irregular seasons (do you remember the snowy winters and sunny springs from ten years ago?) and many more alarm bells! Yet few logistic actors realize that their sector will be one of the first affected by these changes.

En route to an unpredictable world

Climate changes will increase the frequency and strength of natural disasters. Whether it’s a tsunami, storm, hurricane, flood or drought, the negative impact of these events on the economy and logistics is obvious. In the past thirty years there have been 615 natural disasters, 66.000 deaths and $ 95 billions in damage, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and these numbers are not decreasing… Logisticians will have to review the supply chain, since the losses and delays resulting from these disasters would have too much impact on their business. The location of factories will be more and more dependent on the unpredictable meteorological situation and would most likely have to be moved closer to warehouses and shops. These places of production would be, for the most part in areas less prone to be directly affected by climate change. Therefore the whole global market would undergo profound repercussions with major impacts on the economy, as well as social and international relationships.

The unpredictability of roads in the world

This complex globalisation would be disrupted by changes in storage and sales points, but also by the commercial routes taken. For example, the melting of the Arctic glaciers could lead to the opening of new sea routes, which until now haven’t been accessible. Rising waters could also allow rivers, streams or canals to have more depth and thus be passable by larger vessels. Droughts would surely reduce the flora and fauna of some areas, impenetrable until now, creating new trade routes. These many new channels of communication would undoubtedly be the subject of international, verbal and procedural conflicts. It is not only the economy but also the international politics that would be completely turned upside down. These conflicts or wars would drive large areas to poverty, which could lead to increases in outlaw activity and attacks toward commercial convoys (which can be observed since 2005 around the Horn of Africa). All these conflicts increasing poverty and distracting governments, businesses and society as a whole from environmental issues, would trigger a vicious cycle. This negative environmental loop would contribute to the disappearance of some of the natural resources. This could potentially ruin businesses, creating more poverty zones and contributing to an increase in crime.

For the logistics sector, almost anything unexpected is an additional cost and the trade is much more prosperous in times of peace. Consumer choices have a real impact on corporate policies and each individual decision counts.

Let’s act today to reduce the catastrophes of tomorrow.

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