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A handful of new regulations are driving sustainability in logistics today, says Wettergren. One case to watch is an effort by the California State Legislature to eliminate or restrict the use of Styrofoam by 2016. "That would really be a precedent," he says. The material poses a number of problems with respect to product safety, production, recycling and disposability. But banning it will entail significant costs for manufacturers.
Sustainability is a growing part of corporate responsibility efforts, Wettergren says. And "going green" can yield bottom-line results. Nevertheless, programs of that sort are still in the development stages in many companies. In a recent UPS survey of U.S. pharmaceutical companies, only 5 percent of respondents said that green initiatives would actually drive business decisions. And in some areas, the emphasis on green appears to have waned in recent years. "Three or four years ago," Wettergren says, "you would have entire industry conferences on sustainability alone. It's lost a little bit of heat."
On the other hand, 67 percent of companies responding to the poll said that sustainability or green initiatives "were a strategy," Wettergren says. And nearly a third said that regulations would drive them toward such programs.
The poor state of the economy is a major reason why some companies are losing their green focus. "High-tech companies will have a vice president at the sustainability level," says Wettergren, "but you don't see in this economic climate companies driving those green initiatives."
Efforts within the airline industry include programs to implement paperless filing of documents with Customs, as well as purchase more fuel-efficient planes. In addition, carriers are working to consolidate shipments to make better use of available space.
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Keywords: global logistics, supply chain risk management, supply chain management, air freight, temperature-controlled freight, green transportation, environmental protection, sustainability, Envirotainer, environmental regulations
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