How 3PL’s Can Foster Sustainability Solutions | Red Arrow

Sustainability is becoming an expectation within supply chains. Research from IBM found that 57% of consumers are willing to change their buying habits to try to reduce the impact on the environment. Transportation and logistics companies need to shift their focus to include sustainability as a supply chain goal as the industry as a whole is largely responsible for harmful emissions.

3PLs for Sustainability

Third-party logistics companies (3PLs) are able to help sustainability goals by incorporating environmentally friendly initiatives into companies’ daily processes. 3PLs can increase sustainability through TMS data which shows where the most harmful processes are occurring throughout the supply chain.

A 3PL can drive a focus on sustainability in the following ways:

Technology: 3PLs use technology with emissions measurement and management to track emissions through all transportation functions. Shippers are able to see fuel efficiency and emission rates through sustainability reports. The use of robotics is also playing a role in sustainability. The use of robots for repetitive tasks is helping to create an automated warehouse operation so team members can focus on higher-value services and ways to improve sustainability operations.

Warehouse Operations: Operating a warehouse takes a large amount of energy with lighting and equipment, infrastructure, and offices. The use of energy increases the carbon footprint of the warehouse if not handled properly. 3PLs are able to determine how much a warehouse is contributing to the environment negatively as well as provide solutions as to how to improve. Some examples include energy-efficient floor design and the use of renewable energy sources such as solar power.

Data-Driven Performance: An experienced 3PL can use transportation data to produce better results in sustainability. With 3PL mode and route data, they can make processes more efficient like consolidating shipments or using intermodal services while reducing emissions.

Compliance: As rules on emissions are becoming stricter, it is important that companies adhere to all regulations. A 3PL can track emissions and environmental impact to ensure compliance and improvement. The technology that a 3PL can provide gives shippers the ability to make sure a shipment is compliant before it leaves the warehouse.


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Transportation: Sustainable transportation measures can have a positive impact on the environment. A 3PL provider has the experience and network to provide strategic transportation operations that remove unnecessary routes. They are also able to work with carriers that provide sustainable transportation solutions, which also reduce costs. Shippers are now more interested in alternative fuel options such as liquified natural gas to reduce their carbon footprint. Some truck manufacturers and carriers are beginning to invest in electric vehicle technology to become more conscious of the environmental impact.

Packaging: The choice of packaging materials can have an impact on the environment. But now that some businesses must pay for the cost of getting rid of packaging material, an emphasis on sustainable packaging materials has become a financial consideration. A 3PL can help to use greener, recyclable, and sustainable sourced packaging material as well as disposing of wasted packaging material correctly.

Paperless Transactions: Most 3PL’s in the U.S. have become fully paperless in the warehouse. Technology can be utilized to streamline an entire warehouse’s operations and boost efficiency and productivity while improving accuracy, reporting, and response. Technology like RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) reduces the chance of errors as well as enhances the speed at which information is delivered. Paperless systems eliminate delays and keep data secure.

Inventory Management:  Removing unnecessary transportation can also contribute to more sustainable transportation practices. For example, relocating inventory to more optimal locations can cut down on transportation costs by being closer to a route or the ability to co-load. Distribution centers (DC’s) that are closer to regional customers are also a way to reduce fuel usage.

Your Trusted Partner

A focus on sustainability will need to be adopted by all transportation and logistics providers. An expert 3PL like Red Arrow Logistics has implemented sustainability initiatives that will reduce transportation carbon footprints, optimize waste output, and use recycled material. Our customized fulfillment and shipping services allow companies to focus on sustainability without sacrificing their customer satisfaction.

Red Arrow offers the scale and scope of services including air, ocean, and ground transportation to meet the budget and schedule requirements of the largest and smallest companies alike. If we can be of assistance, please email us at or give us a call at 425-747-7914.