Imagine a world without the logistics and transportation industry. Its absence would mean little to no cross-border trade, with huge implications for the global economy, supply chains, and the flow of goods and services, including essential services.
With origins dating back to ancient civilizations, the industry has been a pillar of human progress for thousands of years and continues to play a vital role in supporting economic development and nearly every business in the world.
As the world progresses, the role of logistics and transportation becomes more important than ever. The industry has seen a new boom in recent years thanks to modern technology, including innovative modes of transportation beyond planes, ships, trucks and trains.
All of this comes at a price, however, as the industry has been one of the major contributors to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For example, freight transport is responsible for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, rising to 11% if warehouses and ports are included. Furthermore, under a business-as-usual scenario, freight transport is projected to be the highest-emitting industry by 2050.
rise of plastic
Additionally, packaging and materials, including plastics used in the logistics and transportation industry, are another major concern contributing to environmental pollution.
Given the growing problems associated with plastics, this month’s World Environment Day also puts the spotlight on the pressing issue of plastics.
Plastic has been one of the most useful materials used in different industries since its production in 1907, which marked the beginning of the global plastics industry. Its use, rather than its abuse over the past few decades, poses major environmental challenges – leading to pollution of our water bodies, land and ecosystems, and causing great harm to wildlife and marine life.
Global plastic production is estimated to have soared in recent years to more than 460 million tons, up from 234 million tons in 2000. Furthermore, the annual global plastic waste generation has more than doubled over the past two decades to 353 tons from 156 metric tons. Furthermore, around two-thirds of plastic waste comes from applications with a useful life of less than five years: packaging (40%), consumer goods (12%) and textiles (11%).
Furthermore, almost all single-use plastic products (98%) are produced from fossil fuels or “virgin” raw materials, and the level of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, use and disposal of traditional fossil fuel plastics is projected to grow to 19% of the global carbon budget.
With environmental concerns on the rise, many logistics and transportation companies around the world are adopting sustainable approaches, and Aramex is one of the outstanding companies leading by example.
Headquartered in Dubai, just a few miles from this year’s COP28, our company was the first company in the Middle East to adopt a sustainability report in 2007, demonstrating our company’s commitment to sustainable development.
Walk the talk
The company invests in renewable energy without compromising customer expectations and service quality. We believe that the entire logistics industry can play an important role in the closed loop, and we also recognize the important role of supplier and value chain cooperation in reverse logistics, which is in line with the principles of 5R: Reduce, Repair, Resell, Renovate and Recycle.
While Aramex has demonstrated a commitment to sustainability, the entire logistics and transportation industry must continue to push boundaries and drive positive environmental change.
This includes scaling up innovative ways to reduce reliance on plastic and embrace alternatives. It cannot be done alone, as it is our collective responsibility to bring about change and fight for a more sustainable future.
Raji Hattar is Chief Sustainability Officer at Aramex