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The Importance of Sustainability Benchmarking

The notion of going green is a hot topic as companies and countries look at their overall environmental impact and search for ways to be more sustainable. Companies can begin to offset their carbon footprint by taking a deeper look at their supply chain, including product packaging, energy efficiency, alternative fuels, route optimization, and returns and recycling programs. However, supply chain sustainability can go well beyond these initiatives. So, what can companies do to get started on a sustainability journey? The answer is to invest in sustainability benchmarking tools.

Sustainability benchmarking is important for a number of reasons. First, it enables a company to analyze how it is performing on an annual basis against specific sustainability goals. Second, companies can compare themselves to other entities in the same market to see how they are performing. And third, it is the starting point for understanding the level of an organization’s GHG emissions at a given point in time. Ultimately, sustainability benchmarking can help companies to understand whether their initiatives are effective and give guidance on how to make improvements.

FourKites, the global leader in real-time supply chain visibility, has launched a Sustainability Dashboard where companies can see miles traveled to create a baseline for emissions. The dashboard is part of a broader Sustainability Hub, which allows companies to collaborate and access freight emissions from FourKites tracked freight.

This sustainability tool goes beyond just a snapshot in time of miles traveled. Companies can accurately calculate shipping level emissions and compare them across specific time intervals. The customizable dashboards and reports show the total estimated emissions from FourKites-tracked freight, and enable a deep dive into emissions by mode, changes over time, and comparison to industry benchmarks.

By looking at the estimated carbon emissions for each shipment, and by incorporating shipping weights into the equation, companies can get a better estimate of what their scope 3 emissions look like. This information can be used to make decisions on modes of transportation. FourKites Sustainability Dashboard also enables companies to identify the highest source of freight-related emissions across the supply chain.

Knowing which source of freight-related emissions are the highest can lead to improved decision-     making in shipping decisions. For example, air shipments are the worst in terms of carbon emissions, releasing 63 times the emissions when transporting goods of the same weight over the same distance. Clearly there are times when air freight is the best option; however, if shipments can wait, ocean shipping is cheaper and more reliable. It is also the best play for long term sustainability. As ships, and the fuel that drives them, become more environmentally friendly, the reduction in carbon emissions is important for mitigating ocean acidification. This, in turn, is important for protecting marine species, ecosystems, and industries like fisheries and tourism.

Final Thought

Companies and countries continue to look at ways to reduce their scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. The big problem is that most companies do not have benchmark data available to begin the process. The FourKites sustainability dashboard can fix this problem, as it enables real-time benchmarking of miles traveled and emissions across all modes of transportation. This is the first step, which then allows organizations to make shipping decisions based on freight-related emissions. Without this data, it is nearly impossible to make progress in sustainability initiatives.

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