European’s environment Agency announced in March that road and air freight have grown faster than the European Union economy. Road freight grew by 43 percent and Air freight by 35 percent (1997 – 2007). On the other hand, rail and water transportation lost market shares in the same time period.
In the mind of European Union the major factor for the increase in air and road freight was the lack of rail into the old-Soviet bloc countries. If you wanted to supply this countries economies with goods you needed to use mainly road and air transportation.
The EU is concerned by this increase in road and air transport as they are some of Europe’s biggest polluters, contributing heavily in climate-warming emissions. Cleaner methods of transport namely rail and water transport declined. The EU has reported that emissions from internal transport now account for around 19 percent of overall emissions in Europe.
In times of climate conferences helt by the most powerful people in the world, it should get clear that environmental protection is a big thing also connected to logistics. As concern for the environment rises, companies must take more account of the external costs of logistics associated mainly with climate change, air pollution, noise, vibration and accident. Green logistics is seen as the inevitable approach to establish environmental friendly, efficient transport and distribution system.
But the main question is: “Do companies really change their logistics systems, towards more environmental friendly systems, or do they just pretend?
In a survey done by Bundesverband Materialwirtschaft, Einkauf und Logistik (BME) they asked about the importance of green logistic in times of crisises. Around 70 percent of the companies, still give a high importance to green logistics, even higher than the criteria environmental certifications. When the respondent was asked for its companies motivation for environmental activities, company image was the most mentioned criteria (85 percent). The next question handled the activities they did for their logistics. The most mentioned was bundeling logistic activities (85 percent) and driver trainings (75 percent). Shifting the transportation towards rail or water transportation was only considered by 30 percent.
As we can see from this survey, companies try to change, but mostly for image reasons.
In my mind they do not really consider criterias which could highly reduced environmental pollution!