Going from Dirty to Sexy – the NEW Image of Logistics - Part 1

The ‘Cargo Climate Care’ Conference organized by Lufthansa Cargo last Thursday in Frankfurt clearly demonstrated a surprising change in the industry’s image: from negative to positive. The new direction was more clearly elaborated on by experts at LH Cargo’s event in Frankfurt.
We summarize the results in different pieces.

Gunnar Gburek  /  courtesy BME
Gunnar Gburek / courtesy BME

The meeting, one of the most efficient and rewarding ever held on this sensitive subject in terms of seriousness and intensity, offered a multitude of in-depth insights into the world of green and clean logistics including an array of paths on how to get to more eco-friendly transportation.  

Don’t just talk, act!
The experts sent out a univocal signal right at the beginning of the symposium: green logistics is meanwhile much more than just a catchy slogan. It reflects holistic environmental thinking in addition to increasingly driving industrial decision makers to take adequate action in order to stop global warming by reducing CO2 emissions wherever and whenever possible. This was the consensus of opinion.
This ‘save the earth’ attitude in both commercial and individual conviction is shown in an increasing number of tenders issued by car produces like BMW, retail giants such as Wal-Mart, Tesco and others, who now demand sustaining green solutions from their partners in transportation from beginning to end. 
Should they fail to deliver convincing concepts, they are out of the biz. Actually, this strong buying power exercised by a growing number of shippers, pushing forwarders and airlines towards greener practices, is a key driver for giving the environmental ballgame a new eco-friendly turf - step by step. 

Experts discussing climate issues (l>r): Karl-Rudolph Rupprecht LH Cargo, Lucia Reisch, Copenhagen Business School, Ingo Schoenheit, Imug Institute  /  source: hs
Experts discussing climate issues (l>r): Karl-Rudolph Rupprecht LH Cargo, Lucia Reisch, Copenhagen Business School, Ingo Schoenheit, Imug Institute / source: hs

A positive image change for logistics
All panelists and speakers at the meeting agreed: it is absolutely legitimate that this new green focus serves primarily the purpose of setting the firms and their brands in the best possible light. However, the outcome of this strategic focus on environmental issues by consignees as well as consignors is changing the image of the transport industry in a positive way – ending the long-standing dirty, noisy and smelly era of the boogeyman, painting logistics in much more attractive green colors. “Ever since the introduction of drones the logistics sector has raised a lot of awareness, gradually increased its acceptability and – most importantly – has gotten itself a new, sexy public image,” said Gunnar Gburek, Head of Logistics at Germany’s Association of Material Management BME, to the 120 participants of Lufthansa Cargo’s ‘Climate’ meeting. 

Consumers become increasingly ecologically sensitive
At the other end of the supply chain it is the fast growing number of consumers, which are changing their purchasing habits, turning to Fair Trade and organic products or even requesting car seat upholstery made of vegan materials, LH Cargo’s VP Product Management Monika Wiederhold illustrated.
In the meantime the new and growing positive image of logistics has reached the rating agencies. “In the past, portfolio managers invested in businesses that promised high profits at little risk. Today they are also asking for ethical aspects, if their expenditures fit their own corporate values and what exactly their money will be used for if transferred to foreign countries,” explained Ingo Schoenheit, Chairman of Imug Consultancy. This was confirmed by Lucia Reisch of the Copenhagen Business School: “Logistics firms offering green supply chains are gaining reputation and boosting their market value.” 

Heiner Siegmund  /  Michael Taweel

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