ALEXANDRE MARVÃO: SUSTAINABILITY AND THE IMPACT OF TRANSPORTATION: DECISIVE CHOICES FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Opinion Article for ÓpticaPro Magazine, Issue No. 247, December 2023
Sustainability and the Impact of Transportation: Decisive Choices for a Sustainable Future
Sustainability is an urgent issue for our current society as we face increasingly pressing challenges related to climate change, environmental degradation, and the scarcity of natural resources. In this context, transportation plays a crucial role since it is responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. Therefore, understanding the impact and importance of transportation is essential to promote and accommodate sustainable business policies.
The Weight of Transportation in Environmental Impact
Transportation plays a fundamental role in the global economy, facilitating trade, tourism, and people's mobility. However, this mobility always has an impact on the environment. The transportation sector is responsible for a significant share of carbon dioxide emissions (28.5%) and other air pollutants, such as particle emissions, contributing to global warming and air pollution.
Faced with this challenge, it is imperative that companies, in pursuit of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) best practices, value the impact of transportation and make more sustainable choices regarding the means of transportation used and contracted logistics services. Companies generally rely on road transport for their business development, whether for moving goods and products or for the movement of people, workers, service providers, and customers. Therefore, logistics options, the use of personal vehicles, or vehicle technologies play a central role in the pursuit of a sustainable future.
Logistics plays a vital role in the global economy, ensuring that products reach end consumers efficiently. However, many companies are shifting paradigms and recognizing the importance of making their logistics operations more sustainable. This involves optimizing transport routes, reducing resource waste, adopting more efficient vehicles, and seeking cleaner transportation alternatives, such as using cargo bicycles in urban logistics or electric vehicles.
When hiring logistics services, companies must consider that they are entrusting third parties with part of their operation and image. If they wish to achieve operational efficiency, sustainability, and long-term success, they have a duty to exercise due diligence and make choices based on sustainability and responsibility criteria for their future partners. Carefully evaluating potential logistics partners should involve decisions based on criteria that benefit not only their internal operations but also the environment and society as a whole. The proper application of this duty of diligence is a fundamental step in ensuring success and social responsibility in corporate logistics operations.
For companies needing to use their vehicles in their operations, both passenger and commercial, and wishing to adopt more sustainable practices, there are now various alternatives available in an expanding market of new technologies. Creating a corporate sustainability strategy that aims to reduce environmental impact and associated costs is now possible. This includes improving reputation and attracting new customers who value companies with high ESG standards. Transitioning to a more sustainable vehicle fleet is a significant step toward a greener and more responsible future, without forgetting the positive impact on financial resource management.
The Need for Alternatives to Personal Vehicles
The extensive use of personal vehicles also poses significant challenges to sustainability. The increasing number of cars on the roads contributes to traffic congestion, air pollution, and the degradation of urban areas. To promote a sustainable future, it is crucial for people to consider alternatives to constant personal vehicle use, transitioning to public, shared transportation, and, whenever possible, adopting active mobility means such as bicycles and walking.
In this aspect, companies can implement mobility policies that promote the reduction of the impact of their employees' commutes. This can involve minimizing the need for travel, opting for remote work when possible, and offering flexible schedules. Additionally, companies can encourage the use of more sustainable modes of transportation, such as public transport and active means.
As seen, sustainability in the transportation sector plays a fundamental role in preserving the environment and using natural resources in a balanced manner, ensuring their existence for future generations. The choices we make regarding transportation, whether related to corporate logistics or personal vehicle use, have a direct impact on the environment and people's quality of life. Therefore, it is imperative that we all carefully consider the most sustainable options available and work together to reduce the negative impact of transportation and promote a sustainable future for all. Sustainability is achieved not only through our direct actions but also through the partnerships and partners we choose.