Panattoni, the market leader in industrial real estate in Europe, has co-authored the first report on sustainability in European logistics and supply chain. The report was produced in partnership with international law firm HFW and in collaboration with Analytiqa. According to nearly 80 per cent of respondents, actions aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of their operations will be key in the next five years. In the case of warehouse and production space, this means measures aimed at reducing operating costs by selecting suitable solutions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
The publication of the European Logistics & Supply Chain Sustainability Report 2022 comes out at an crucial time for the logistics sector - the importance of delivery networks is growing due to the rapid development of e-commerce, and the role of technology and digitalisation is increasing. Notably, sustainability remains a driving force for change in the logistics sector, at the top of many companies' boardroom priorities.
The survey asked respondents, among other things, what drives manufacturers, traders and logistics operators to be more sustainable in their business. The most important drivers for ESG action, proved to be the need to meet regulatory and legal requirements. Another - the desire to make a positive impact on the environment.
- However, the road to sustainability is not an easy one. Many companies in the logistics supply chain operate under high cost pressure, huge competition and low margins. Hence, spending on implementing sustainability initiatives is a challenge for almost two-thirds of companies - says Emilia Dębowska, Sustainability Director at Panattoni.
At the same time, the majority of logistics operators are apprehensive about the complexity of implementing ESG issues, whereas these concerns are considerably lower among logistics network customers. - Undoubtedly, the creation of more sustainable supply chains, including intermodal and international operations, will require the integration of business, government and consumer action - adds Emilia Dębowska.
The survey shows that 69 per cent of companies include ESG goals when tendering. - Whilst it is encouraging that the majority of respondents are using ESG targets in the tendering processes, this is clearly an area for further development given that only around a quarter then go on to include these as obligations in their contracts and under a half including them as aspirational targets only - says Matthew Gore, Partner at HFW.
Alongside transport, ESG activities are largely focused on the stock of warehouse and industrial space. The introduction of appropriate solutions can significantly help building users to reduce their carbon footprint. The most relevant measures - for 92 per cent of respondents - are those related to building energy efficiency, such as the use of LED lighting, solar panels, heat pumps, etc. In second place (59 per cent), they point to solutions for reducing drinking water consumption and making greater use of grey water and rainwater. As many as 53 per cent point to charging stations for electric cars and 45 per cent to well-being of employees. Biodiversity is vital or of high importance to 39 per cent of respondents.
70 per cent of all respondents believe that financial incentives would be helpful for greater implementation of sustainability initiatives. Customer pressure is important to ¾ of 3PLs and only 1/3 of manufacturing and retail respondents.
Despite the challenges, however, businesses see the benefits of implementing ESG and that it can make them more attractive to investors, customers, employees and ultimately consumers. For 2/3 of 3PLs and more than 2/5 of manufacturers and traders, the application of ESG practices has already translated into new business. 48 per cent of 3PLs and 31 per cent of manufacturers and traders point to improved internal collaboration. Entrepreneurs also see more media coverage and wider access to government grants and financial support.
The survey was conducted on a sample of respondents including logistics service providers, freight forwarders, the courier industry and buyers of logistics services from the manufacturing and retail sectors. It was conducted in 12 European countries, including the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, France and the UK.
The full report is available here