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The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has released a report on the variety of retail strategies employed to lower the environmental effect of product transportation. The two-page white paper, which evolved from a recent survey of RILA members, describes the ways in which retailers are introducing sustainable transportation programs in their business operations.
“Today’s customers expect stores to carry a wide range of products, which are manufactured in all parts of the world,” said Adam Siegel, VP of sustainability & retail operations for Arlington, Va.-based RILA. “Product transportation, therefore, is a critical part of the retail equation. Now, more than ever, retail companies are seeking to measure, track, report and address the impacts that their transportation operations have on the environment.”
Retailer transportation sustainability strategies include:
- Encouraging contracted carriers to participate in EPA SmartWay, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation or other organizations
- Implementing route optimization technologies to minimize miles traveled
- Maximizing trailer loads to reduce the number of outbound trips
- Introducing “no idling” policies to minimize fuel use during loading and unloading
- Installing hybrid fuel-electric engines that are more efficient than their conventional counterparts
“EPA supports the retail sector’s efforts in integrating sustainable goods movement into their business models,” noted Cheryl L. Bynum, director, EPA SmartWay & Supply Chain Programs Center. “Leading retailers are using the SmartWay Transport Partnership to assess their supply chain fuel efficiency and emissions footprint while also working directly with their service providers to incentivize and encourage freight sustainability. Their joint efforts are helping industry to reduce costs, while enhancing energy security and reducing emissions.”
Besides the brief, RILA’s efforts in this area include its commitment to the Retail Sustainability Initiative (RSI), which is dedicated to sustainability in the retail industry. The organization has also created a first-of-its-kind annual event devoted to environmental education and best practices for retailers, the Retail Sustainability Conference, as well as a Retail Sustainability Report outlining members’ efforts in this regard.