Oct. 25 2007 05:32 PM

If you saw An Inconvenient Truth with Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprios The 11th Hour, then you know global warming is a serious problem. This is a human issue about the extinction of our species and our inability to continue to live on this planet without massive change. The earth has massive regenerative power, but humans will not survive. We must adapt appropriately to our biosphere, explains DiCaprio.


Now, I am not a tree-hugging environmentalist. But after seeing these movies, I am convinced that if we continue to behave as if our world is a resource for us to deplete, we are putting our childrens children in severe danger. With up to 75% of a companys carbon footprint (a measure of how much carbon dioxide [CO2] is emitted through the combustion of fossil fuels) coming from transportation and logistics, we have an opportunity to make a difference.


The most respected scientific bodies have stated unequivocally that global warming is occurring, and people are causing it by burning fossil fuels (like coal, oil and natural gas) and cutting down forests. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences issued a joint statement with 10 other National Academies of Science, saying, The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.


This year, eyefortransport surveyed over 250 North American supply chain executives and found, the vast majority of respondents [69%] divulged that over the next three years, green issues will become more important to their transport and logistics processes. An amazing 69% identified green issues as their No.1 priority over the next three years, while only one percent expects a lessening of importance. According to a Cone survey, Ninety-three percent of consumers believe companies have a responsibility to preserve the environment.


The result of this is that more than 1,200 corporations have signed on to the Global Reporting Initiative for corporate sustainability reporting. The reality is that whether or not you believe that global warming is a problem or not, chances are good that you, as a logistics professional, will be called upon to take action.

The eyefortransport survey found that transportation and logistics professionals are implementing or planning green initiatives in the following areas: Fifty-nine percent of respondents are or are planning to improve energy efficiency, and 42% are or are planning to both use vehicle rerouting to reduce miles and use strategic warehouse and distribution center placement.


Buildings are the largest source of both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in America as well as around the world. Buildings account for as much as 48% of all greenhouse emissions and 68% of electricity consumption. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences Whole Building Design Guide, buildings generate 35% of the carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas associated with climate change), 49% of the sulfur dioxide and 25% of the nitrogen oxide found in the air. The good news is that, in a majority of cases, improving energy efficiency can lead to tax deductions and hefty savings on your bills. So going green does not have to increase costs, nor does it have to be complicated. An easy-to-remember strategy is called the 3 Rs Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. There are small steps you can take, such as repairing and reusing pallets or returning them to your vendor, reusing newspaper and shredding as packaging/shipping material and reusing packing materials. Waste reduction in addition to dedicated reuse and recycling can help the environment and improve your bottom line.


On May 16, 2007, in the process of launching the Clinton Global Initiative, former President Clinton stated, Climate change is a global problem that requires local action The businesses, banks and cities partnering with my foundation are addressing the issue of global warming, not just because its the right thing to do, but also because its good for their bottom lines. Theyre going to save money, make money, create jobs and have a tremendous collective impact on climate change all at once. I urge you to learn about these options and take action, because it is the right thing to do.


Vera Angelico, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP is an architect that has been certified by The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. She can be reached at vangelico@aol.com.


Mark Taylor, MBA, DLP, is the President of TAYLOR Systems Engineering Corporation and the Chief Logistics Officer of RedRoller, Inc., an Internet-based shopping service for shipping that compares the rates and delivery options of multiple carriers. He can be reached at Mark@RedRoller.com.