Methodology to set up a NEW Green Strategy

Phase 1: Assessment of the green status of the company

Introduction to Phase 1
The primary objective of Phase 1 is to evaluate the Couriers and Logistics companies’ potential for a green shift by characterising their current green status. This process involves analysing different factors related to that, such as green operations, green competence and skills, certification of skills etc. Once completed, an outcome that outlines the potential of improved sustainability of the company, along with a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis will be produced. This information will serve as a foundation for the subsequent phases.

Who to involve in this phase?
The methodology suggests the involvement of various members of the company to analyse, use, and integrate the documents and material provided. This involvement should begin early in the Phase 1, and executives or managers should be involved. However, it is essential to engage the relevant departments of the company to gather the information needed to build or update the strategy in the upcoming steps.

 

Steps in Phase 1

Step 1: Preliminary characterization of the company related to green transition

Objective: a preliminary analysis of the company to understand its green shift potential considering various aspects related to green transition. For this purpose, a form can be used to gather information about the current practices of the company towards sustainability. This information will provide a comprehensive overview of the company and serves as a baseline for subsequent steps to identify areas where improvements can be made to reduce the environmental impact of operations.

Actions: During this step the company should complete the ‘Green status characterization form’ to get information and enable specificity in the answers.

Material available: Green status characterization form: Template to collect general information about the company (Annex A).

Step 2: Assessment of the green status

Objective: The second step evaluates the current situation of the company and its potential for establishing a new strategy (or updating an existing one) towards a green shift. This analysis is based on several criteria. The use of a checklist is suggested as a tool to assess the status of the company in transitioning to a greener strategy.

Actions: The user can check if green initiatives have been considered, through the use of the assessment form. Additionally, the user can choose to assess the company’s carbon footprint by using the “Measure my Green Readiness” Self-Assessment Tool.

Material available:

Step 3: SWOT analysis

Objective: SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used to assess those four aspects. This is how a company can capture its current performance and build a strategy to achieve its future goals. It involves identifying the internal and external factors that can impact the success of the business. The strengths and weaknesses refer to internal factors, such as the organization’s resources, capabilities, and limitations. The opportunities and threats refer to external factors, such as market trends, competition, funding programmes and opportunities, current national policy targets and priorities and regulatory changes. By analysing these factors, the organization can develop strategies to capitalize on its strengths, address its weaknesses, seize opportunities, and mitigate threats. This provides a wide picture of how a company can carve a route to reach its objectives.

Action: The user can review the provided template in order to familiarise in how to complete the SWOT matrix.

Material: Template document for a SWOT analysis of the company (Annex A, An Example for a Transportation Service Company)

 

Phase 2: Design of a Green Strategy

Introduction to Phase 2
A green strategy combines a set of actions designed to mitigate the environmental impact of companies’ operations and products while creating value for customers and other stakeholders involved in the value chain. By implementing a green strategy, companies can facilitate a transition towards sustainability, aiming to reshape their business models to operate in a more green and circular way. The design of an effective green strategy requires a sustainable approach that considers potential synergies between ecological responsibility and economic growth.

Who to involve in this phase?
To ensure the success of the goals and initiatives of the green strategy, a dedicated working group is recommended to be established for the development and execution of the strategy. This group should involve company executives belonging to different departments, such as management, marketing, finance, operations, logistics, and procurement, as well as external stakeholders, such as suppliers, external environmental consultants, etc. This cross-functional and cross-departmental team aims to ensure an integrated and collaborative approach to achieve the goals of the green strategy.

 

Steps in Phase 2

Step 1: Define the strategy development working group

Objective: In this step, the strategy development group should be established. The role of the working group is to clarify the scope and objectives of the strategy, identify the key focus areas, prioritize initiatives, and develop the implementation plan. For the smooth operation of the working group, it is particularly important to clearly define the roles, responsibilities, and accountability of the members. Given the multidimensions of a green strategy, ensure the involvement of key members and their cross-functional cooperation within the working group. An indicative structure of the strategy development working group could involve the following sub-groups:

Company Leadership team: Top-level executives and decision makers within the company. Their support and commitment to sustainable practices are crucial for implementing a green strategy. It is advisable to consider a strategy leader.

Environmental and Sustainability experts: Collaborate with environmental consultants or experts who specialize in renewable energy, emissions reduction, and environmental impact assessment. If the company has a dedicated sustainability manager or department, involve them to help align the strategy with the overall environmental challenges and sustainability goals.

Operational and logistics team: representatives from operations and logistics departments. They possess valuable knowledge about current processes, fleet management and operational challenges.

Technology experts: engage professionals with expertise in sustainable transportation technologies and smart logistic solutions. Their knowledge can assist in identifying and implementing sustainable technological solutions.

Actions: Table 1 can serve as a guideline of actions to define the strategy development working group, including, tasks that should be implemented, as well as the responsible people/teams and possible methods to complete those tasks.

 

Table 1: Actions to define the strategy development working group, Phase 2, Step 1

Task Responsible Possible methods
Establishment of the working group Leadership team

Sustainability expert

Strategy leader

Including representatives from the executive leadership team, environmental/sustainability/technology experts, operations, and logistics team.

Identification of a project lead or coordinator who will facilitate meetings, track progress, and ensure the timely execution of the group’s tasks.

Clear definition of the purpose and goals of the working group Leadership team

Strategy leader

Determination of the scope of the green strategy, including specific areas of focus such as carbon footprint reduction, smart logistics, waste management, or sustainable packaging.
Conduction of a kick-off meeting to communicate all the above Strategy leader Bring together the working group members to introduce the project, discuss the objective, and establish a common understanding.

The share of relevant information on the company’s current environmental performance, industry trends, and regulatory considerations.

Assign roles and responsibilities Leadership team

Strategy leader

Assign specific responsibilities to each working group member based on their expertise.

Encourage collaboration and teamwork to leverage the diverse skill sets within the group.

Recommended resources

It will be helpful for the responsible to consult:

  • Assessment of the green status (Phase 1, Step 2)

Step 2: Determine the priority areas and their corresponding main goals

Objective: To design an environmentally sustainable strategy, it is essential to identify and prioritize key focus areas and establish the main goals within the courier and transport sectors. The goal is to create a strategic plan that promotes green practices, reduces environmental impact, and enhances sustainability throughout the sector. The green status and SWOT analysis outcomes from Phase 1, as well as the company’s mission and vision, are the base for setting the priority areas of the strategy. This process should involve all relevant actors from the strategy development working groups, but also members from the advisory groups if needed. When defining the priority areas, their main goals should be clear and reveal how it relates to the achievement of the strategy vision.

Actions: Table 2 can serve as a guideline of actions to determine the priority areas and their corresponding main goals, including, tasks that should be implemented, as well as the responsible people/teams and possible methods to complete those tasks.

 

Table 2: Actions to determine the priority areas and their corresponding main goals, Phase 2, Step 2

Task Responsible Possible methods
Preliminary assessment Strategy development working group Based on the company’s green status and SWOT analysis (Phase 1), a comprehensive assessment of the status of the courier and transport sector should be conducted, including regulations, industry trends and best practices related to sustainability in these sectors.
Stakeholder engagement Strategy development working group Engagement of stakeholders such as environmental and sustainability experts, technical experts, and operational and logistics teams.
Identification of priority areas Strategy development working group Based on the preliminary assessment and stakeholders’ insights and recommendations, identify priority areas that have the most significant environmental impact and potential for improvement.  These may include fleet efficiency, logistics optimization, sustainable packaging, and employee engagement.
Set main goals Strategy development working group Clear and measurable main goals for each area should be established. The goals should align with the broader sustainability objectives, such as GHG emissions reduction, waste minimization, and renewable energy promotion usage.
Recommended resources

It will be helpful for the responsible to consult:

  • Assessment of the green status (Phase 1, Step 2)
  • SWOT analysis (Phase 2, Step 3)
  • Catalogue of Green Solutions (Annex A)
  • Best practice examples (Annex A)
  • Repository of policies to support green business models (Annex A)
  • Related projects (Annex A)

Step 3: Identity available enabling mechanisms and resources for the green shift

Objective: To implement the strategy effectively, it is important to define the required resources and mechanisms that will support the green transition. This process begins by identifying the supporting mechanisms and financial resources available at the national and European levels. This mapping will emerge various opportunities, for example the policy programs and plans, and the suitable financial instruments in different areas of the courier and transport sector, such as green transportation, smart logistics, energy efficiency, and waste management.

Actions: Table 3 can serve as a guideline of actions to identity available enabling mechanisms and resources for the green shift including, tasks that should be implemented, as well as the responsible people/teams and possible methods to complete those tasks.

 

Table 3: Actions to identity available enabling mechanisms and resources for the green shift, Phase 2, Step 3

Task Responsible Possible methods
Identification of available supportive resources and enabling mechanisms to achieve the objectives of the priority areas. Strategy development working group

 

List of current operational programs at the national and European level.

List of existing environmental policies and regulations in the country that promote green initiatives.

List of sources of financial support and funding opportunities for green initiatives.

 

Recommended resources

It will be helpful for the responsible to consult:

  • Determined priority areas for guidance (Phase 2, Step 2)
  • Repository of financial instruments and tools (Annex A)
  • Repository of policies to support green business models (Annex A)

Step 4: Draft the strategy document

Objective: Based on the input from the previous steps, the strategy development working group will draft the green strategy document. During this step several aspects are recommended to be included, such as the motivation for the strategy development based on the company’s vision, the main goals to succeed, as well as the identification of priority areas and the financial mechanisms to support the transition. The outcomes of the green assessment status and the SWOT analysis should also be included, setting the background towards the transition. Finally, the consultation process within the strategy development working group, and the main conclusions should be presented to better capture the diverse perspectives of the strategy development.

Depending on the scope of green strategy development, in this step, companies can finalize the strategy draft, deliver the final document, and use it for their long-term mission. In case they need to produce an operational document for short to medium-term use, they are encouraged to move on to the next phase and develop an implementation plan that serves as a roadmap for strategy execution.

Actions: Table 4 can serve as a guideline of actions to draft the strategy document, including, tasks that should be implemented, as well as the responsible people/teams and possible methods to complete those tasks.

 

Table 4: Actions to draft the strategy document, Phase 2, Step 4

Task Responsible Possible methods
Draft the green strategy document Strategy development working group Analysis of collected information during the strategy development process.

Feedback rounds with strategy development working group and advisory group.

Recommended resources

It will be helpful for the responsible to consult:

  • Results of Phases 1 and 2
  • Template of the strategy document (Template C-Annex A

Phase 3: Development of the implementation plan

Introduction to Phase 3
For the finalisation of the strategy, an implementation plan is needed to achieve the main goals set within each priority area in Phase 2. The implementation plan acts as a detailed roadmap describing how these goals will be reached, which human and financial resources are needed, how they will be allocated and the performance measures while monitoring the strategy. This, in the end, increases the company’s efficiency and effectiveness towards the execution of the strategy.

Who to involve in this phase?
It is recommended to involve the same actors as in Phase 2.

 

Steps in Phase 3

Step 1: Derive specific goals within priority areas, and specific actions and be responsible for the implementation

Objective: According to the priority areas and the main goals defined in Step 2 of Phase 2, it is essential to provide more detailed objectives that are both specific and measurable. The initial formulation of the specific goals can be undertaken by the strategy development working group. For each goal relating to the corresponding area, it is important to draft feasible and actionable steps, while assigning the responsibility of implementation to a body of the company or organization. It is also crucial to clarify evaluation and monitoring methods for the successful execution of these measures.

Actions: Table 5 can serve as a guideline of actions to derive specific goals within priority areas, and specific actions and be responsible for the implementation including, tasks that should be implemented, as well as the responsible people/teams and possible methods to complete those tasks.

 

Table 5: Actions to derive specific goals within priority areas, and specific actions and be responsible for the implementation, Phase 3, Step 1

Task Responsible Possible methods
Derive specific goals, specific actions, and the responsible body for the implementation Strategy development working group Working groups and feedback rounds within working group members.
Recommended resources

It will be helpful for the responsible to consult:

  • Catalogue of green solutions (Annex A)
  • Best practice examples (Annex A)
  • Training in the courier & transportation sector (Annex A)
  • Relevant tools (Annex A)

Step 2: Assign specific resources to the defined specific actions

Objective: Based on Step 4 of Phase 2, each planned action should be assigned to specific resources. Proper resource allocation is crucial to support the implementation of all actions during the implementation plan period, which in turn will ensure that the individual priorities of the strategy are effectively developed and achieved.

Actions: Table 6 can serve as a guideline of actions to assign specific resources to the defined specific actions, tasks that should be implemented, as well as the responsible people/teams and possible methods to complete those tasks.

 

Table 6: Actions to assign specific resources to the defined specific actions, Phase 3, Step 2

Task Responsible Possible methods
Assign resources to the specific planned actions Strategy development working group

Financial expert

Business development expert

Search for external funding opportunities

Contact local utilities and energy programs

Budget and people allocation

Feedback rounds with the Leadership team, the Operation team and the advisory group

Recommended resources

It will be helpful for the responsible to consult:

  • Determined priority areas and their main goals (Phase 2, Step 2)
  • Repository of financial instruments and tools (Annex A)
  • Repository of policies to support green business models (Annex A)

Step 3: Develop the final strategy and implementation plan

Objective: The final strategy and implementation plan documents should incorporate the results of the previous steps, taking into account available resources and dependencies, and setting realistic timelines. Monitoring and evaluation of key performance indicators (KPIs) help to track progress and identify areas for improvement, while risk assessment and mitigation strategies facilitate the address of potential obstacles. Finally, considering scalability and sustainability aspects throughout the strategy and implementation plan development will ensure the long-term impact of the green initiatives and the growth of the company. The strategy development working group will run this process, conducting a final consultation round with relevant stakeholders within group members for approving the strategy document and implementation plan.

Actions: Table 7 can serve as a guideline of actions to develop the final strategy and implementation plan, tasks that should be implemented, as well as the responsible people/teams and possible methods to complete those tasks.

 

Table 7: Actions to develop the final strategy and implementation plan, Phase 3, Step 3

Task Responsible Possible methods
Finalizing the green strategy and the implementation plan Strategy development working group Final consultation with working group members and relevant stakeholders

Analysis of consultation feedback with the decision-level team and advisory group. Include approved changes to the final documents.

Recommended resources

It will be helpful for the responsible to consult:

  • Determined priority areas and their main goals (Phase 2, Step 2)
  • Derived specific goals, specific actions and responsible for implementation (Phase 3, Step 1)
  • Assign specific financial mechanisms and resources to the defined specific actions (Phase 3, Step 3)
  • Template D (Annex A)

Step 4: Define how to execute and monitor the implementation plan

Objective: When implementing a plan, it is critical to regularly monitor and evaluate your progress toward meeting your sustainability goals. This involves tracking your KPIs and reporting progress back to the strategy development working group and the relevant stakeholders. Regular monitoring and reporting can help your business stay accountable to its sustainability commitments and identify new opportunities for improvement. Additionally, establish timelines with milestones, roles, and responsibilities to track the progress and address any delays or bottlenecks. This process also contributes to better monitoring of risks and taking proactive measures to mitigate them. Another important point is to maintain an open channel of communication with team members and stakeholders, asking for their feedback and continuously improving the plan based on their insights. Finally, keep detailed documentation and generate regular reports to update stakeholders and evaluate progress.

Actions: Table 8 can serve as a guideline of actions to define how to execute and monitor the implementation plan, tasks that should be implemented, as well as the responsible people/teams and possible methods to complete those tasks.

 

Table 8: Actions to define how to execute and monitor the implementation plan, Phase 3, Step 4

Task Responsible Possible methods
Identify roles, responsibilities and establish timelines Operations Manager

 

Break down the project into smaller tasks and assign time estimates, roles and responsibilities of execution team members to each task.
Maintain Communication Strategy leader Establish regular team meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and updates.
Monitor Risks Operations team

Strategy leader

Implement a risk monitoring and reporting system to track the status of risks and take timely actions.
Evaluate Effectiveness Environmental, Technical & Sustainability experts Use qualitative and quantitative data, such as surveys, performance reports, or stakeholder feedback, to evaluate effectiveness.
Implementation Process Documentation Operations team

Strategy leader

Maintain a centralized repository for documentation, such as an electronic document management system or a shared drive.
Evaluate Progress Operations team

Strategy leader

Compare actual progress against planned milestones and Objectives to evaluate the overall progress of the implementation.
Recommended resources

It will be helpful for the responsible to consult:

  • Use project management tools and software for monitoring and tracking tasks and milestones.