State analysis of methods and tools

Carbon footprint calculation

Methods that companies can use to quantify their greenhouse gas emissions and identify areas for improvement are:

Indicators used: i. Output indicator – CO2 intensity per km of transport infrastructure; ii. Mobility indicator – CO2 intensity per unit of passenger-km and freight-km by project type; iii. Investment indicator – CO2 intensity per € of investment provides values for each transport mode that are consistent with the other indicators.

 

Life cycle management and assessment of operations

The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is a methodology that allows transportation and freight companies to evaluate the environmental impact of their products and services throughout their entire life cycle. LCA is a standardized methodology and is widely used by different industries and sectors to evaluate the environmental impact of their products and services. It is also a tool to identify opportunities to improve the environmental performance of a product or a service. In addition, there are also other methodologies such as the Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), which is a standardized tool that allows companies to communicate the environmental performance of their products, and the Carbon Trust Standard (CTS) which is a certification scheme that verifies the carbon footprint of a product or service.

LCA typically includes the following steps:

A life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool used to evaluate the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its entire life cycle. For a courier company, a LCA would need to take into account the following aspects:

By conducting a LCA, a courier company can identify the key areas of its operations that have the greatest environmental impact and develop strategies to minimize those impacts.

 

Sustainable transport planning

Sustainable transport is defined as the provision of services and infrastructure for the mobility of people and goods— advancing economic and social development to benefit today’s and future generations—in a manner that is safe, affordable, accessible, efficient, and resilient, while minimising carbon and other emissions and environmental impact (The United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, 2016). The EU Transport Council defines the sustainable transport system as the system that (Eltis, 2019):

In the above framework, sustainable transport planning is the process of designing, developing and evaluating sustainable transport systems through a holistic approach that involves considering the economic, social, and environmental impacts of transport systems aiming to mitigate or reduce negative impacts while enhancing positive ones. The process involves the interdisciplinary cooperation of experts and the participation of public and private stakeholders and representatives of civil society in the appropriate stages of the process.

Sustainable transport planning is a circular process that involves the definition of a vision for sustainable transport, the assessment of the current situation to allocate transport and mobility problems, the development of alternative solutions or scenarios with a clear time horizon, the modeling and evaluation of alternative solutions or scenarios in order to select the most appropriate one, the detailed planning and implementation of the selected solution or scenario, the monitoring of the impacts during implementation and the evaluation of the implemented solutions or scenario to assess new challenges and opportunities for sustainable transport planning. A similar process is followed by the SUMP guidelines, which is the official EU framework for the strategic planning of cities to promote sustainable urban mobility (Eltis, 2021).

Priority components of sustainable transport planning are the following:

For the implementation of sustainable transport planning, a variety of tools and techniques are available for different stages of the process, such as transport modeling, on-site surveys and measurements, data analysis, land-use analysis, participatory planning and (cross-sector) policy analysis. Transport planners typically work in partnership with experts from other disciplines (urban planners, environmental experts, architects, engineers, social sciences and humanities, ICT experts etc.).

 

Sustainable logistics and supply chain management

Sustainable logistics and supply chain management is the process of managing the flow of goods, services, and information in a way that meets the needs of the present while protecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It involves considering the economic, social, and environmental impacts of logistics and supply chain activities and aims to reduce negative impacts while promoting positive ones.

The components of sustainable logistics and supply chain management include:

To implement sustainable logistics and supply chain management, logistics and supply chain professionals use a variety of tools and techniques, such as logistics network design, transportation planning, inventory management, and supplier evaluation. They also typically work in partnership with other organizations to develop and implement sustainable logistics and supply chain strategies that support the overall sustainability goals of the company and society.

 

Green procurement

In general, sustainable procurement, often referred to as environmental or green procurement, is about guaranteeing the quality of the product, contract or service, as well as its environmental impact (Mojumder, et al., 2022), (GETENGA, 2022).

Green procurement is a key practice in the green supply chain. They contribute to overall sustainability as well as to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by selecting sustainable suppliers and/or external partners. In particular, green procurement is based on suppliers’ activities that incorporate environmental practices and take into account cost and quality criteria, while minimising environmental pollution and maximising environmentally friendly performance (Mojumder, et al., 2022), (Mak, et al.).

Regardless of their size, all companies in all business sectors can benefit from using green procurement methods. Typically, green procurement tactics can be as basic as recycling office paper or purchasing renewable energy, or they can be more complex, such as imposing environmental requirements on suppliers and contractors (GETENGA, 2022).

Green businesses should also take the environment into account when procuring goods and services. For example, by preventing the disposal of items after a single use and by supplying products that:

  1. use clean (environmental) technology and clean fuels,
  2. are more energy efficient,
  3. improve recyclability by containing more recycled content, limited packaging and greater durability,
  4. produce fewer toxic or harmful substances,
  5. emit fewer irritating or toxic substances during use or installation; or
  6. consume fewer water resources.

Through green procurement, environmental impacts are reduced and the process of selecting new materials and resources can create new opportunities and ultimately reduce production costs. At the same time, renewable energy production is becoming increasingly efficient and cheaper. As a result, the number of ‘environmentally friendly’ alternative materials is increasing day by day, and often at lower acquisition costs (Mak, et al.).

The environmental benefits of sustainable markets often influence how money is used in the industries in which they operate. The only way to integrate environmental considerations into the procurement process and achieve green procurement is to consider things throughout their life cycle, from purchase to disposal (GETENGA, 2022).

Local sourcing is preferable as the subsequent supply and distribution costs will be lower.  Local sourcing of raw materials increases the company’s productivity by ensuring that products are recyclable, energy efficient, biodegradable and free of ozone depleting chemicals. This is likely to prevent globalised sourcing practices and lead to asymmetric economies of scale. Big data systems can also be used to avoid unnecessary procurement, thus reducing waste. The ISO 20400 (Sustainable Procurement) standard is an effective tool for green procurement. Finally, mandatory ESG reporting for listed companies is also pushing sustainable procurement to expand into the business world and is gradually affecting SMEs (Mak, et al.).

In conclusion, green procurement refers to services and products that lead to minimising negative impacts on the environment and human health by continuously seeking quality products and services at competitive prices.

 

Eco-friendly packaging

Green packaging is becoming increasingly popular due to its benefits for both the environment and human health. It aims to minimise waste and reduce the negative impact of packaging materials on the environment. It is also commonly referred to as sustainable packaging, ecological packaging or environmentally friendly packaging.

One of the most important features of green packaging is that it is made from renewable resources. These resources can be replenished naturally, which makes green packaging a more sustainable option than traditional packaging. In addition, green packaging is often biodegradable, meaning that it can be broken down by natural processes without harming the environment.

There are several guidelines that companies can follow to achieve green packaging. The first is to reduce the amount of packaging material used. This can be done by designing packaging that is more efficient in terms of space and material usage. The second guideline is to reuse packaging when possible. This may include designing packaging that can be easily refilled or reused or using materials that can be easily reused. The third guideline is the recovery of packaging materials. This involves collecting used packaging and reusing it in new products. The fourth guideline is the recycling of packaging materials. This involves collecting used packaging and breaking it down into its component parts, which can then be used to make new products. Finally, the final guideline is the use of packaging materials that are broken down. These are materials that can be broken down naturally without harming the environment. Degradable materials include things like paper, cardboard and bioplastics (Mak, et al.).

In conclusion, green packaging is a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative that can help reduce packaging waste and minimize the negative impact of packaging on the environment. By implementing the guidelines of reduce, reuse, recover, recycle and degradation, companies can create packaging that is both usable and sustainable.

 

Energy efficient vehicles, buildings and equipment

Energy-efficient buildings and equipment are designed to use less energy and resources, while still providing the same or better level of functionality and comfort. Energy-efficient buildings are designed to use less energy to heat and cool the space, while energy-efficient equipment is designed to use less energy to perform its intended function.

Energy-efficient buildings and equipment can be used in transportation and freight companies to minimize environmental impact in a number of ways:

By implementing energy-efficient buildings and equipment, transportation and freight companies can reduce their environmental impact, improve their reputation, and support the development of more sustainable products and services. Additionally, energy-efficient buildings and equipment can also help organizations to meet the governmental regulations and international standards.

 

Automated and digital operations

The rapid growth of digital services has not only given businesses more opportunities but has also exposed them to new vulnerabilities and increased challenges. To address these challenges, digital operations platforms offer flexible service delivery models that provide resilience to IT systems in a complex and interconnected virtual environment.

Organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of delivering exceptional experiences for their business customers and are investing heavily in streamlining and automating digital operations. Consequently, it has become vital to maximise service uptime to ensure a seamless experience for customers (Everbridge, n.d.).

Digital operations are based on the workflow of a business supported by digital technology, either in part or in whole. The process flow is digitised, including work instructions, allowing operators to access them via laptops or mobile devices. This reduces errors and ensures uniformity of execution, resulting in increased efficiency and quality of business operations.

Digital workflows and operations offer new opportunities such as real-time monitoring, visualization, analysis and optimization through advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence. Organisations are, however, challenged to join this digital transformation, which has led to a societal debate on the impact of AI on human work. It is important to differentiate the impact of work automation and autonomy from that of intelligent control and AI.

Digital operations enable the automation of work, allowing machines to perform tasks previously done by humans. For example, robots can automatically complete tax forms, given sufficient data from digitally integrated financial transactions. Automated digital operations in product supply chains can include periodic preventive maintenance or replenishment. CNC machines, such as 3D printers, and digitally controlled flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) are other examples of digital automation.

It is, however, important to note that digital operations do not necessarily mean that work is automated. Digital tax filing, for example, involves downloading the necessary tax forms, manually completing them on a computer or smartphone, and submitting them electronically (Boute, et al., 2021).

In conclusion, digital operations involve digitizing the process flow, including work instructions, to enable efficient and uniform execution. They offer new opportunities through real-time monitoring, visualization, analysis and optimization. Although they enable automation of tasks, it is important to differentiate this from the impact of intelligent control and artificial intelligence. Digital operations provide adaptable and more efficient ways to manage complexity and deliver a variety of business services.

 

Employee engagement and education

Employee engagement and education are two critical components of implementing green transition successfully to an organization. Organizations can play a crucial role in the green transition by implementing sustainable policies, promoting green products and services, educating employees and stakeholders, monitoring and reporting on their environmental performance, collaborating with other organizations, engaging in advocacy, and investing in renewable energy.

Employee engagement is a crucial element in organizational success. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to be productive, innovative, and committed to their job, leading to increased organizational performance (M. A West, J. F. Dawson – Employee engagement and NHS performance, 2012). Engaged employees are also more likely to stay with an organization, reducing turnover rates and recruitment costs. It is also enhances employee well-being, leading to reduced stress levels and increased job satisfaction (Anitha J. – Determinants of employee engagement and their impact on employee performance, 2014). Based on surveys in Hungary, the involvement of employees in activities supporting the green transition is currently carried out with little effectiveness. It is difficult for companies operating in the logistics sector to find opportunities to engage their employees. In addition, the development of green strategies also causes difficulties, and it is not really planned in the operation of a company. Without this, it becomes even more difficult to involve employees. According to the survey, it is also a challenge to create the appropriate financial background for the development of this type of green strategies, and the employer either does not have sufficient knowledge about this topic or cannot find a suitable expert with whose support the project could be implemented.

Education is equally important in an organization, as it provides the necessary knowledge and skills that employees require to be successful in their roles. Education can be formal, such as obtaining a degree or certification, or informal, such as on-the-job training. Formal education provides employees with a solid foundation of knowledge, while informal education helps employees develop the necessary skills to perform their job effectively (R. Hidayat – Education and Job Training on Employee Performance, 2018). According to surveys, education related to the green transition in Hungary is not yet fully developed. Several transport companies are trying to educate their employees, especially drivers, on how to save fuel, for example. Unfortunately, based on the feedback, most companies do not have a similar training opportunity and do not plan to introduce it. There are still no adequate financial resources and staff of professionals who could support the implementation of the trainings.

Employee engagement and education have a mutually reinforcing relationship. Engaged employees are more likely to participate in educational opportunities and seek out learning opportunities, while educated employees are more likely to be engaged and committed to their roles. Education can also lead to increased job satisfaction and provide employees with a sense of purpose and value, leading to increased engagement (M. A West, J. F. Dawson – Employee engagement and NHS performance, 2012).

 

Collaboration/networking with private and public organisations

Collaboration and networking between organizations, both public and private, have become increasingly important in recent years. There are a variety of reasons for this, but one of the most important is that such collaborations can provide access to resources and expertise that may not be available within the public sector (K. E. Proulx, M. A. Hager, K. C. Klein – Models of collaboration between nonprofit organizations, 2014).

Collaboration with private organizations can provide access to resources and expertise that may not be available within the public sector. One of the key benefits of working with private organizations is their ability to bring in resources that the public sector may not have access to. For example, private companies may have specialized knowledge or equipment that can be used to address specific problems or challenges. Additionally, private organizations often have access to funding that can be used to support public initiatives that might otherwise be underfunded. In many cases, the private sector can also provide valuable expertise and support in areas such as marketing, technology, and logistics, which can help public organizations to achieve their goals more efficiently and effectively (L. Weinstein, J. Cook – The Benefits of Collaboration Between For-Profit Businesses and Nonprofit Arts- or Culture-Oriented Organizations, 2011).

Based on our experiences, collaboration between public and private organizations can be particularly effective in addressing complex social and environmental issues that require a coordinated and comprehensive approach. By working together, public and private organizations can pool their resources and expertise to develop innovative solutions to difficult problems. For example, public-private partnerships have been used successfully to address issues such as climate change, poverty, and public health. Such partnerships can also help to ensure that public initiatives are sustainable and have a lasting impact, by leveraging private sector resources and expertise to create long-term solutions.

Successful collaboration between public and private organizations requires a number of key elements. First, it is important to have clear communication between all parties involved, with a shared understanding of goals, objectives, and expectations. This can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same outcomes. Additionally, effective collaboration requires a willingness to compromise and adapt to changing circumstances. This means being flexible and open to new ideas, while also being able to work within the constraints of existing policies, regulations, and resources. Finally, collaboration requires a shared commitment to success and a willingness to work together to achieve common goals. By working together in this way, public and private organizations can achieve outcomes that benefit everyone involved (R. W. McQuaid – Theory of Organisational Partnerships – partnership advantages, disadvantages and success factors, 2016).

According to the survey conducted in connection with the green transition, the majority of companies currently operating in the logistics sector in Hungary unfortunately do not have any kind of cooperation with other private or public companies. However, few companies try to compensate for their high pollutant emissions and participate in collaborations where, for example, they plant trees for environmental protection. According to the feedback, the companies do not have the capacity and do not have an adequate network of contacts, in order to be able to build a useful cooperation.

 

Regularly monitoring and reporting progress

A detailed regularly monitoring report on a transportation or freight company’s sustainability performance should include the following components:

This type of report would be useful for the company to track progress, identify areas for improvement and communicate with the stakeholders, including customers, investors, and government agencies, about their sustainability performance.

 

Certification

Certification is the process of awarding a written assurance (certificate) that the product, service or system in question meets specific requirements. It is the formal attestation or confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by an independent body (Conformity Assessment or Certification Body). Certification of persons is the actual result and would normally require some form of external review or assessment (e.g. exam / certification test) that determines whether individuals had obtained certain knowledge and skills – hence be labeled as “competent to practice” in a specific area.

The acquisition and recognition of knowledge, skills and professional qualifications (part of the overall ‘competence’ of persons) that contribute positively to sustainability is of major importance. With the objective of promoting recognition, EU had set frameworks and mechanisms (e.g. Directive 2005/36/EC, Europass) with policies and procedures for the recognition of qualifications. However, there are still major challenges to be addressed such as a) qualifications are only part of the overall competence and b) there is no widely accepted central system for registering and recognizing all the aspect of persons professional qualifications and competence. Hence, it lies on persons to be able to prove their competence where the recognition lies to a large extend on the certification of such competence using certification schemes.

Among the certification processes and schemes that are currently implemented within the EU, ISO/IEC 17024:2012 titled “Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons” is the governing and most widely accepted industry standard. It contains principles and requirements for a body certifying persons against specific requirements, and includes the development and maintenance of a certification scheme for persons. Certain elements of this standard can be of use when developing the certification scheme for this project.

In the context of this project, ISONIKE will create a Certification scheme for personnel of courier services companies using elements from ISO/IEC 17024:2012 in order to certify the last-mile green skills and delivery. . The Certification process of the scheme will follow the prerequisite education and training of Courier Services personnel and the assessment of the knowledge and skills obtained from the training. Certification may require deferent level for the courier service office personnel with the courier operators.

Certification of personnel within the CGG project is an essential part for promoting environmentally sustainable courier operations. By training and certifying personnel of courier service providers, they can have a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of sustainable courier practices. This training typically involves the areas of the previous paragraphs.

There are several benefits of certifying personnel for CGG:

Overall, the certification of courier services personnel within the context of this project is essential in promoting environmentally conscious courier operations, reducing the environmental impact of courier operations, and meeting the growing demand for sustainable courier services. By certifying personnel in sustainable courier operations, courier companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and take significant steps towards building a greener future.