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Sustainability in Transportation Industry: Today’s Reality

Did you know that there is a huge probability of crossing the threshold in sustainable development? Turns out, unless people take serious measures to make the world a more sustainable place to live in, unacceptable environmental changes with irreversible consequences may become a reality. Today, whatever happens around the globe is of destructive nature. Things like resource scarcity, socio-economic crisis, pollution, intense drought, heatwaves, etc., degrade the world we live in on a daily basis. Such happenings surge in numbers and may become an absolute disaster for us. So, maybe it’s time to figure out a way to bypass the occurrence of a hell-like situation? Absolutely!

As explained in the article “The Critical Role of Sustainability in Transport Infrastructure,” sustainability is everything around us. Literally! It encompasses the environment, economy, and society – the three most important aspects of life driving the ongoing development of the world alongside life quality. As you can infer, these should push us towards asserting that every action each of us takes brings the planet a step closer to sustainability, touching upon every aspect of it. If ignored, the framework of a sustainable future will never become a reality. Moreover, all we have now will gradually disappear. 

5 Ways to Enhance Today’s Sustainable Reality in Transportation Industry 

As Dr. Daniel Haag, the Director of PwC Strategy&, mentions, “Many companies are too defensive or reactive when it comes to sustainability. This makes sustainability a ticking time bomb for the transport and logistics industry.” 

Actually, what Dr. Daniel Haag said is today’s reality. Transportation companies are either too defensive or reactive when something concerns sustainability. Let’s see – the transportation industry provides:

  • transport solutions flattening the climate curve 
  • robust transport chains no matter the constant changes in the climate

These sound great, but is everything as excellent as it seems to be with these two outstanding points? Not really. While giving these benefits, a lot of transportation companies lack education or experience to showcase how to be sustainable while staying calm, concentrated, and innovative. Instead, they prefer finding reasons to neglect the establishment of sustainable business practices in the company. Neglecting is easy, but taking up innovation is a challenge. 

Considering that the planet prospers when it undergoes challenges and upgrades its state, the transport and logistics industry needs to undergo significant changes to benefit the planet from environmental, economic, and social viewpoints that complete the concept of sustainability. How? There are 5 ways to choose from and start with. 

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#1 Promote Green Highway Partnership Model

The Green Highway Forum sponsors a voluntary program that is well-known as a model called the Green Highways Partnership. The process of highway construction is full of toxic environmental overflow. To ignore the usage of such materials in highway construction, the Green Highway Forum advises using permeable materials for construction; meanwhile, the U.S. Green Building Council suggests using construction materials that are recyclable, encompassing alternative strategies for the design, i.e., green concrete. Plus, this voluntary program aims to increase the participation of volunteers in the highway management process, which is a robust, sustainable development concerning society. Many companies that provide transportation services can take volunteers into a training period and then recruit the best professionals. In fact, the best transportation companies to work for doing so. They aim to decrease the unemployment rate while increasing workforce quality, which is why they take volunteers for different projects and then employ the best-trained individuals.

#2 Improve Freight Efficiency

These days, freight efficiency within supply chains doesn’t define the transportation industry as sustainable. Instead, its inefficiency requires people to take measures. For you to imagine how unsustainable freight efficiency within the transportation systems is, just one product can be transported by three different means of transport until getting to its final destination. All consumers of freight, including individuals and businesses, should become mindful of the distribution routes they put into work, not to overexploit freight on all possible consumer levels. If mixed with improving public transportation, individual consumption levels may be regulated. Considering that public transit is less accessible in rural areas than in urban areas, there is a need to develop public transportation in rural areas. This way, people will gain the opportunity to take with them those products that are easily transported without the need to be inspected or monitored. 

#3 Integrate Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

The usage of electric vehicles (EVs) is becoming more widespread. People love the idea of having cars charged fast without environmental harm. EVs are comfortable, easy-to-charge, environmentally friendly, and trendy. However, there is a huge problem with the proportion of EV production and charging station construction. Companies produce EVs in such a number that it outpaces the construction of charging stations, which becomes a headache for people who cannot either access public charging stations or afford to buy one. If businesses that are considered to provide the best transportation services start increasing charging station locations to stop the problem of EV production outpacing the charging station construction, the issue will be automatically solved. If taking responsibility for constructing charging stations isn’t in those companies’ plans, they can invest in charging stations’ construction projects or at least promote and encourage investment in those.

The Framework of a Sustainable Future 

When we talk about the framework of a sustainable future, we tackle diverse disciplines and interconnections that encompass the notion of sustainable development. In other words, all the aspects of sustainability that we’ve mentioned above, including the environment, economy, and society, should be taken into account. To be more specific:

  • the aspect of the environment stands for environmental responsibility 
  • the aspect of the economy stands for economic efficiency
  • the aspect of the society that stands for social equity

Indeed, if you consider these to complete the framework of a sustainable future, settle back because there are a couple of more factors that should be definitely accounted for. Besides the three aspects of sustainability, we shouldn’t forget about the future generation’s welfare. Every available asset that humankind knows of, i.e., infrastructures, capital, real estate, resources, etc., should be acquired and invested in actions directed towards perfecting the future generation’s welfare. 

Although the future generation’s welfare is one of the most essential loops of the framework of a sustainable future, solely governments and businesses can complete the sustainable future’s framework. 

How would governments and businesses act considering the existing power of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards? 

First, governments need to become flexible and adaptable to changes, especially if the discussion comes to strategic changes. Governments should start listening to the citizens. They should comprehend what citizens expect from the officials and feel free to meet citizens’ expectations and beyond. Especially if we are talking about people living in the U.S., who signify sustainability in every industry, exceptionally in the transportation industry, the government should act cautiously with them. As the main Corporate Socially Responsible (CSR) body, it should look closely at what these people expect to get. For instance, if these people expect a decrease in unemployment in the trucking industry, the government should take all the measures to provide jobs to truck driving professionals who deserve the position. When governments start doing so, not only will sustainable development get back on track but also the standard of living will improve.

Second, businesses should not fall behind governments as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards are crucial to follow for them, too. Specifically, companies that operate in the transportation industry should account for the maximum follow-up of CSR standards to make the footprint on Earth as sustainable as possible. Indeed, the sustainable investment from the side of a transportation business like MDB Transportation should consider all the stakeholders engaged in the progression of that particular company. Those people are business partners, employees, and customers. Each and every stakeholder of the company should feel that sustainability is a crucial topic because these people are provisioners and driving forces of that particular company. Notably, as pioneers who invest in sustainable development first, transportation businesses need to take every possible opportunity to display how the proper promotion of sustainability should be done. 

As Rick Fedrizzi, the CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, mentions, “I won’t get into the quagmire of government, but if anyone thinks that our government – state, local, or federal – is going to get us out of this problem, they’re sadly mistaken. The real way that we’re going to get out of this is to encourage the largest industries in the world to figure out that sustainability is profitable and profitability is sustainable.” Considering that the transportation industry is considered one of the largest, let’s see how the best transportation company, MDB Transportation, tackles the question of mutually connecting profitability and sustainability. Not to uncover a company secret, in short, what MDB does is invest in sustainable business model development; thus, making it profitable. Remember? Economic efficiency – one of the crucial aspects of sustainability. 

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