Couriers Go Green

2. Set up a NEW Green Strategy

2.1 Phase 1: Assessment of green status of the company

2.1.1 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.

2.1.2 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:
    • Assessment form: Template to assess the green status (Annex A).
    • “Measure my Green Readiness” Self-Assessment Tool (CGG PR3.1).
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)

2.2 Phase 2: Design of a Green Strategy

2.2.1 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.

2.2.2 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

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

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

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

2.3 Phase 3: Development of the implementation plan

2.3.1 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.

2.3.2 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

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

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

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