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Turning green to gold

How green are your transportation practices? It's not an easy question but it's a question more and more of your customers are bound to start asking. Unlike the green trend we first experienced about ...


How green are your transportation practices? It’s not an easy question but it’s a question more and more of your customers are bound to start asking. Unlike the green trend we first experienced about a decade ago, this one seems to be more than just hype – a good thing considering that, as CITT’s Alan Major argues, “solutions to global warming must not only be immediate and innovative, but permanent as well. Treating the problem like the corporate flavour of the month is not an option.”

The time for action is upon us because there is no way to escape the reality that how we transport, package and warehouse goods in a global economy is a significant contributor to the creation of the greenhouse gases that create global warming.

Large players such as Wal-Mart and IKEA are already favoring suppliers who have green transportation and logistics practices. You may have heard of Wal-Mart Canada’s company-wide sustainability program, for example, which is aimed at spearheading collaboration among supply-chain partners to measure and reduce the environmental footprint of its product shipping process and logistics network. The company expects to introduce its first ever Supply Chain Sustainability Scorecard this fall to assess its network of service providers on the basis of environmental impact, efforts and improvement.

This summer, Wal-Mart Canada assembled dozens of companies, including some of Canada’s largest trucking, rail, storage and distribution suppliers, to begin the process of quantifying various sustainability measures relevant to its product shipping processes and practices.

And if government is going to get serious about Greenhouse Gas reductions, it can’t avoid looking at transportation practices. After all, transportation accounts for more than one-quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and for 28% of the growth in those emissions since 1990.

Many transportation professionals appreciate the role their supply chain practices play in greenhouse gas production and want to do something to be part of the solution. They’re just not sure exactly what to do – it can be such a daunting issue. And, naturally, they’re worried about the cost, particularly in the absence of any clearly articulated Canadian government direction on green legislation. To be effective, green transportation practices must prove to be both environmentally sustainable and financially viable.

I believe that can be the case. And I know companies – both carriers and shippers – that have already taken the first steps and are seeing results. There is a lot to be learned from these pioneers. For one thing, they’re learning that adopting green practices can have payoffs beyond meeting the green mandates of large customers such as IKEA or Wal-Mart. Essentially, they’re taking the first steps towards turning green to gold.

I hope you will join me this November 8 in Quebec City as we speak to these pioneers about how they got started towards greener transportation practices, the obstacles they had to overcome, and the real results they’re getting. This not-to-be missed half-day summit is part of CITT’s Reposition 2007 National Symposium for supply chain and transportation professionals and I will be moderating the morning event.

The list of guest speakers participating in the environmental summit includes leaders from the supply chain, logistics and transportation sectors, along with leaders from the business and academic world. The idea was to put influential leaders representing the interests of carriers, shippers, government and academia all in one place at the same time so you can get a full picture of what’s involved in adopting green transportation practices.

Featured speakers include:

– Peter Robinson, CEO, Mountain Equipment Co-op;

– Lesley Smith, vice president supply chain, Wal-Mart Canada

– Robert Johnson, president and CEO, Purolator

– Lynda Harvey, senior manager, FleetSmart, Natural Resources Canada

– Rob Penner, vice president operations, Bison Transport

– Brian Death, general manager, J.D. Smith & Sons

– Norman Pellerin, assistant vice president, environment, CN Rail

– Jack Ampuja, executive director, Niagara University Center for Supply Chain Excellence

– Joe Raleigh, Sustainability business manager, Unilever/ Wal-Mart International Team

For more information and to register, contact CITT at 416-363-5696 or at info@citt.ca. To learn more about CITT and its education programs, visit www.citt.ca.mt


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