Supply chain pressures | Meeting emissions targets in a financially sustainable way

As businesses strive to serve the evolving demands of dynamic global markets, supply chains are under constant pressure. These pressures mean you need exceed to customers’ expectations, build resilient solutions cost-effectively and focus on meeting emissions targets. Achieving this balance is not an easy feat!

In this series of blogs, Adam Jones, Director of Business Development & Sector Strategies, is exploring how these supply chain pressures are affecting businesses across all sectors. In this final blog, Adam has written about how failing to comply with new sustainability legislation could land you in hot water. But, there are ways to support meeting emissions targets.

Missed Adam’s other blogs? Take a read here:


Pressures on the supply chain

The UK government has set an ambitious target to reduce carbon emissions by 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Similar targets are being applied across the globe and supply chain emissions are coming into question. But what can you do to help in meeting emissions targets?

Firstly, businesses need to baseline their emissions across scope 1, 2 and 3. Against the backdrop of global, complex, fragmented and ever-changing supply chains, this is a mammoth task. To make sure each improvement made is optimal in operating an environmentally and socially responsible supply chain, your business will need a clear understanding of how each change impacts your emissions upstream and downstream.

With legislation aimed at bolstering the decarbonisation drive coming into play by 2027, via the introduction of a new import carbon pricing mechanism, there is much at stake for businesses. You now face the prospect of increased taxes or fines if you don’t comply with these regulations. As well as the financial implication, falling short of the targets are also likely to see reputational damage, particularly if there is evidence of greenwashing in place of true transformation.


How 3PLs can support

The partners that you choose to work with have a significant impact on meeting your emissions targets – particularly in scope 3. So they need to be chosen with care and consideration as 3PLs hold responsibilities for the transportation and storage of goods, and circular economy services.

Across transport and warehousing, the use of systemised processes and sensors has a significantly positive influence on the ability to capture accurate emissions data and deliver measurable improvements.

Using a Transport Management System that monitors carbon emissions enables sustainable network design and supplier selection. This is because they aren’t tied to assets or routes and have the flexibility to design optimal solutions and adopt new low carbon technologies where suited. With this in mind, an asset-light logistics company can have significant environmental benefits over asset-heavy 3PLs.

Warehouse emissions monitoring is also achievable via tools such as Eco Insight. These tools measure live water, gas and electricity usage across facilities, allowing your business to make cost, output and carbon-balanced decisions in real-time.

And with Circular economy services, your business can get access to specialist solutions to repair, reuse or recycle products or components. Typically, a range of processing routes are considered, to maximise the value of the item and minimise environmental impact.

Solutions like this are well established in the electronic device market due to the high environmental and financial cost of mining gold, copper and other rare earth metals. Circular economy solutions allow your businesses to tap into the plentiful supply of reusable components and materials that exists in returned products. This helps in reducing the requirement for virgin materials. 3PLs with technology sector experience are well positioned to use their network of partners and apply lessons learnt to other sectors.

And as sustainability pressures grow, the consumer and eCommerce sectors have to consider circular economy solutions to reduce the volume of goods sent to landfills. But it’s not just consumer and eCommerce that need to consider circular economy, as the same concepts can be applied to consumables and packaging across all sectors.


Key Risk & Mitigation

It’s easy to underestimate the power 3PLs have to make or break emissions achievements and the impact this could have on the reputation of your business. Responsible 3PLs will be signed up to targets confirmed by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). They will follow a clear, auditable plan to achieve their goals in line with the latest legislation. Using this initiative, it should be easy to see how the goals set by your 3PL partner will have positive impacts on your net-zero journey. Logistics partners with a consultancy branch can also offer niche insights too. Helping you look into sustainable supply chain approaches to design, management and supplier selection.


What next?

The global market presents numerous challenges for businesses across all sectors. These challenges include building resilient solutions cost-effectively, satisfying customers with ever increasing expectations, and meeting emissions targets sustainably. However, by partnering with the right logistics provider, you can use expertise and innovative solutions to turn these challenges into opportunities.

At Unipart, we know that one of the hardest things for companies is finding the right supply chain partner. These days, there isn’t as much choice, and working with the most prominent multinational 3PLs has its pros. However, these pros need to be balanced against inflexible ways of working, standards set by the 3PL rather than the customer, customers being easily replaceable, and slow reaction speeds.

By partnering with Unipart, you can navigate the complexities of modern supply chains and address the challenges posed by global markets, evolving customer expectations, and sustainability targets. By using our 50 years of experience and expertise, as well as the technology we offer, businesses can drive efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve their sustainability objectives while remaining competitive in today’s market landscape.

Since 1974, we have truly lived by our Group philosophy: “To understand the real and perceived needs of our customers better than anyone else and serve them better than anyone else”. This is our customer promise, and with true partnerships with our customers, we have seen great success.


Contact Adam

Adam is an experienced Sales & Marketing Director with a career spanning over 15 years with over 10 years in supply chain globally. His focus is on supply chain resilience and managing accelerated growth within organisations, Adam and Unipart are ideally situated to help navigate the volatile situations and challenges companies face in the global supply chain.

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