Retailers must be emboldened to deliver a greener Christmas and avoid a congestion and air pollution crisis.
With the approaching transition to a new administration in the USA and the recent announcement of a viable vaccine for COVID both on the horizon, it looks as though things may finally be turning a corner on several fronts.
The UK looks set to leverage climate change policy in its attempts to woo Biden, and Boris’ 10-point plan for reaching net zero outlines the UK government’s priorities ahead of next year’s UK-hosted COP26. But right now, the UK is in the midst of a hugely challenging post-lockdown, pre-Christmas online retail boom, which begs the question, how can businesses manage the remainder of 2020 and perform on sustainability?
Governments, urgently looking for ways to rebuild our battered economies must ensure that we learn from several recent opinion polls showing that people don’t want to return to a pre-pandemic business as usual scenario. We have a responsibility to ensure that, wherever feasible, we decouple GDP growth from climate and ecological damage. In some areas, this is relatively straightforward – investing in renewables, instead of fossil-fueled power generation, comes to mind. In other areas, such as logistics, it may prove more complex.
Online retail is booming to meet demand during the ‘golden quarter’ and it would be easy for sustainability commitments to go out of the window, especially when it comes to getting huge volumes of goods to people in their homes. Without a speedy transition to alternative, sustainable delivery models our cities could easily be headed for a congestion and air-quality disaster in our cities.
Forward thinking retailers are making green delivery models central to their sustainability strategy. Primark recently announced ambitious plans for reducing carbon by 30% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050, including reverse logistics. The BRC recently launched its Climate Roadmap which sees a commitment to net zero by 2040. In order to keep to such ambitious targets, retailers must start today by innovating and experimenting at scale.
To date, most debate on green logistics has focused on switching to electric vehicles. While this is to be welcomed and will result in reductions in urban air pollution, it won’t solve the multiple converging challenges ahead. EVs can only reduce CO2 by 50-60% and they still cause just as much congestion, road safety hazards, and inefficiency in the delivery chain.
Micro consolidation and re-moding of deliveries onto cleaner and lighter vehicles is one example of how we can help to address these issues. At Zedify we believe in creating better, healthier, cleaner cities through better quality, more responsible deliveries and offer a different solution to the UK logistics challenge. We specialise in zero emissions deliveries in congested city centres and take great pride in being an ethical, Living Wage employer. By re-moding deliveries to electric cargo bikes and trikes sent out from local micro-consolidation hubs, retailers can get their customers goods delivered ethically and responsibly.