ILG warehouse employee in a high vis jacket packing a box of beauty products

How to Make Your Order Fulfilment More Sustainable

As brands become increasingly dedicated to operating sustainably, it’s vital that their supply chain partners are equally environmentally conscious. Sustainable partnerships lead to an aligned vision and a strengthened position on sustainability – something that consumers are increasingly mindful of.

For e-commerce and retail brands, one of the most effective ways to become more eco-friendly is to partner with a sustainable fulfilment company

Fulfilment that Champions an Eco-Friendly Approach

This type of partnership – where all parties are dedicated to preserving the natural world – is highly desirable and extremely powerful. Sustainable fulfilment encompasses every stage of order handling, from storage, picking and gift-wrapping to personalisation, packing and delivery. 

3rd-party logistics companies have their work cut out on this front. To achieve a sustainable approach, every facet of the fulfilment process needs to be made as sustainable as possible.

How an Environmentally Friendly 3PL Can Benefit Your Brand

Of course, every effort your fulfilment company makes towards operating more sustainably will have a knock-on effect on your own organisation.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits your brand can see when working with a sustainable 3PL.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

The fulfilment industry is currently seeing a big push towards plastic-free packaging, with recycled cardboard and paper alternatives taking the front seat.

Perfecting your packaging is a must for any brand mindful of its impact on the environment. After all, your packaging affects the customer’s perception of your brand, so there’s a real urgency to move away from environmentally-harmful packaging solutions that contain plastics and other non-recyclable substances with a significant carbon footprint.

With a sustainable fulfilment company, you’ll be able to choose packaging that suits your needs – meaning if you want plastic-free packaging on all orders shipped under your brand’s name, this is very likely achievable.

Your 3PL should also demonstrate a commitment to recycling wherever possible. At ILG, for example, we send over 6 tonnes of cardboard for recycling every week.

Sustainably-Operated Warehouse Facilities

The more sustainably your goods are stored and handled, the more sustainable your brand becomes. This is the impact of eco-friendly storage facilities; they can be an essential link in your sustainable supply chain and an extension of your brand’s own efforts to become greener.  

In this new era of environmentally conscious fulfilment, warehouse efficiency and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Working with a 3PL provider that demonstrates a measurable move towards sustainably-run facilities can potentially shape the way your audience views your brand.

Read about our journey to sustainability here

Pay Attention to the Little Details

It’s often in the seemingly simple details that a business’s dedication to sustainability is most evident. When choosing your 3PL provider, pay attention to its internal systems and whether eco-friendly processes are in place. 

For instance, paperless invoicing may seem like a comparatively small initiative, but a global fulfilment company with multiple daily operations could save up to 1.5 million pieces of paper every year – per client!

An Eco-Friendly Delivery Service

Last but not least: delivery methods. How a brand chooses to deliver goods to consumers is often the most obvious demonstration of its commitment to a greener future.

Consumers are savvy on the environmental impact of a given brand’s delivery services – which means brands have had to become savvy, too. From hybrid and all-electric delivery vehicles to carbon offset programmes, fulfilment companies are ideally placed to find the most eco-conscious carrier solutions that match the needs of a sustainable supply chain, endearing the brands they work with to their end customers.

Bringing it All Together – How Does a Sustainable 3PL Operate?

At ILG, sustainability is one of our strategic cornerstones and is intricately woven into how we operate as a business. Behaving sustainably and setting ambitious targets, such as our ‘Zero-By-Thirty’ mission, is the way to a greener future for both our clients and their customers.

So, how can we enhance the sustainability of your order fulfilment?

Zero-Landfill Waste

At ILG, none of our waste is sent to landfill. We partnered with Grundon in 2016 to ensure all of our waste is either recycled or used to produce energy, which can generate electricity sufficient enough to power 60,000 homes. 

The logistics industry can be wasteful, so it’s vital that we implement measures to combat that in meaningful ways. Committing to cutting out landfill waste at every level of our business is one of them.

Running Sustainable Facilities

ILG is currently in an exciting stage of growth. As we look towards the future, we’re dedicated to ensuring that each new facility we bring on-stream is run as sustainably as possible.

This means kitting out our new facilities with eco-friendly features such as:

  • Motion-sensitive LED lighting 
  • Electric machinery such as forklifts and lift platforms 
  • Energy-efficient heating and ventilation
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Solar panels
  • Plentiful skylights to maximise natural light
  • Rainwater harvesting

This is with a view to attaining an EPC rating of ‘A’, as well as a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ or ‘Outstanding’ for our newest facilities. We don’t just want to achieve the bare minimum; we’re dedicated to operating as efficiently as possible, giving our clients peace of mind that their fulfilment partner shares their vision for a more sustainable future.

Sustainable Partnerships

In addition to fitting our warehouses with facilities that run more sustainably and leveraging renewable energy, we’re also committed to partnerships with green energy suppliers and other service providers.

We’ve switched to Green Electricity and Green Gas suppliers to reduce our carbon footprint and energy consumption, and wherever possible we choose to work with partners that share our dedication to ‘going green’.

Driving Change Through Education and Engagement

Running a number of initiatives and awareness months such as ‘Sustainable September‘ promotes understanding of sustainability issues and embeds greener practices across our facilities. These initiatives are designed to drive change through education and engagement, keeping staff engaged and up to date with our ESG policies and strategy.

At ILG, we also have a special committee of eco-employees who work across our sites in the UK dedicated to promoting sustainable practices and behaviours as well as a quarterly newsletter, ‘GreeNews’.

Partner with a Sustainable Fulfilment Company Today

Partnering with a sustainable 3PL company means partnering with a brighter future – and establishing your business as a frontrunner in the eco-friendly revolution.

At ILG, we’re proud to be leading the line on sustainability in the fulfilment industry. Since setting our target of cutting ILG’s CO2 footprint by 35% by March 2023, we’ve already achieved this 8 months ahead of the target deadline. Now we’ve set a new, more ambitious target of being a carbon neutral business by 2030.

If you’re looking to make your order fulfilment more sustainable, we’d love to hear from you. Find out how we can help by contacting us today.

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