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Covid-19’s impact on supply networks is slowing down the fight against climate change

Solar Energy

 

covid-19Solar energy developers around the world are slowed down by a spike in the costs of materials, labour and transporting as the world economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic (read more about that here). . An Economic Times India article suggests the zero-emissions solar energy market is showing slower growth at a time when world governments are ramping up their efforts against climate change, and marks a reversal to growth after a decade of lowering prices. One of the greatest challenges to solar energy manufacturers is the soaring cost of steel, which has risen three times in the past year, not to mention the unsteady cost of transportation and the uncertainty of when materials will become available for manufacturing to continue. The pandemic has caused inflation to occur at a staggering rate and many industries are struggling to keep up.

What does this mean for climate change

An online poll by Power Technology readers showed that 54.1% believe a pandemic induced recession could hurt renewable energy development, which in turn, puts us further behind in addressing the climate crisis. With the Covid-19 outbreak hitting the global supply chain and single companies alike, renewable energy growth is expected to slow, with projects consistently being delayed or cancelled as a result. The consequence of this is globally the fight against climate change as per the Paris Agreement, will be put on hold for an extended period of time. While the pandemic has forced us to slow down, the rate of climate change has not. A Time article explains that “Every day, due to rising water levels, some part of the world must evacuate to higher ground.”

 

Climate Change

Demand for solar energy

The demand for solar energy is higher now than ever before. More countries are facing longer, hotter summers and the energy source itself can easily be distributed and rerouted into national electricity lines as Australia has already done. The booming demand for solar energy is however only as in demand as it is available and affordable. With the rising costs of solar energy materials and installations, more and more companies and individuals alike could turn it away for a longer period of time than what the earth can afford. Without renewable energy sources like solar energy, the world depends heavily on non-renewable sources like oil and coal. If we don’t act now, Octopus Energy predicts that global oil deposits will deplete by 2052 and coal and natural gasses are expected to last only until 2060 (read more here).

 

Global warming, pandemic

How the pandemic has affected global warming and in turn, slowed down supply chains

Global logistics industry leaders, EY, conducted a survey on the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and its effects on the job market. The report comes as no surprise that only 2% of companies surveyed stated they were fully prepared for the pandemic. 72% of those affected reported experiencing serious disruptions, while 17% reported significant disruptions (55% reported mostly negative effects). The graph provided by EY illustrates this finding.

Pandemic Chart

Although many employees were requested to work remotely, others – especially in factory settings – had to make new arrangements to ensure physical distancing and were required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). High-tech industries and industrial products manufacturers are investing heavily in technology to limit employee exposure to COVID-19.  Additionally, 47% of all companies reported workforce disruptions due to the pandemic. These are just a few examples of changes affecting supply chains across various sectors. Thus it’s unsurprising that more logistics companies are looking to further empower their labourers through reskilling to help the workforce readjust to the new normal the pandemic has forced the industry into. A Price Waterhouse and Cooper report from April 2020 suggests that there has been a global decline in transport activity and this in itself has forced many workers in the supply chain to be jobless for months on end due to lockdowns. However, in 2021 it is evident that the demand for at-home deliveries has increased.

Conclusion

The Covid 19 pandemic has put immense strain on the world’s resources. Solar energy production has not been spared. We are already in a race against time to reverse global warming. We must seek ways to shorten supply chains by sourcing locally available materials to create renewable energy sources that are  sustainable and more robust against something as unpredictable as a global pandemic. Who knows when the next one could hit.

Green Logistics – It’s the Same Idea, Just A Cleaner Method

Green Logistics web

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It’s time to face the truth – if we don’t take better care of our planet, it won’t take care of us for much longer. Global warming is no longer ‘the next generation’s problem’ – it’s happening now, and we need to stop it before it’s too late.

Logistics has been one of the biggest waste-producing industry out there. According to a report, the transport industry is on the list of top 5 sectors that produce the most human-induced pollution. Overall, the road transport sector produces an estimated 72 percent of the logistics industry’s carbon dioxide emissions.

The Industry Is Changing – Here’s How

Today the main objective of Logistics remains the same – to move things from point A to point B. But the intent is to do it better, in regard to emissions, carbon footprint etc. This move toward a greener way of transport is known as Green Logistics or Eco Logistics.

How the logistics industry can become eco-friendly:

  • Use environmentally friendly packaging materials that can be returned and reused. This will not only save the company money but will also reduce the amount of discarded packaging waste. A good example would be to use wooden pallets that can be returned and reused multiple times.
  • Aim to fit more into one box by arranging items in a particular way.
  • Instead of driving long distances to deliver small loads, wait until there is a considerable number of items to avoid wasting fuel.
  • Before setting off to deliver goods, determine the best (and fastest) route to each destination.
  • Make use of reverse logistics, the practice of refurbishing, recycling, and ultimately reselling returned products.
  • Choose the best transportation method. Believe it or not, air transportation causes the most environmental damage. The best options are rail and road transportation.

Tip: To make road travel even more eco-friendly, ensure that delivery vehicles are always clean. This increases fuel efficiency.

Why It’s A Great Idea to Go Green

If you’re still not convinced as to why eco-logistics is the best option, here are just a few of the benefits that businesses can enjoy.

  • Businesses that showcase their dedication to environmental preservation will not only see an increase in customer satisfaction and revenue but will also enjoy a competitive advantage.
  • Businesses will save money by eliminating the use of packaging material and reducing supply chain costs.
  • There will be more job opportunities due to an increase in the logistics process.
  • And finally, employees will be more productive knowing that they are doing their part to help save the environment.

 

These three brands are among a multitude of others that have already started going green –

“We utilize our expertise to make your logistics greener and more sustainable – giving you an edge over the competition. We can also help you find ways to apply circular-economy principles to eradicate waste and retain more of the value that goes into your products.” – DHL South Africa

Sustainability at Nike is more than a single-product principle. It’s an ethos we are embedding and scaling across our company and infusing into every brand, every category and every product from start to finish. In doing so, we are creating a culture of sustainability across the company.” – Nike

“Our products, services, processes and facilities are planned and operated to incorporate objectives and targets and are periodically reviewed to minimize to the extent practical the creation of waste, pollution and any adverse impact on employee health or the environment. Protection of health and the environment is a Company-wide responsibility of employees at all levels” – Ford

If you would like to help save our planet, become part of the exciting and ever-expanding supply chain industry with a fully accredited BCom in International Supply Chain Management from IMM graduate school. Don’t miss out! Applications for 2020 are still open! Enrol today:  https://imm.ac.za/online-application/