Digitisation: the critical cog in the race to net zero

By Alistair Lindsay, Chief Operating Officer, Zeus.

As sustainability and ESG initiatives penetrate boardroom priorities more comprehensively, we are seeing the increasing rise of chief information officer (CIO) involvement in the execution of these decarbonisation and eco-policies.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that they expect to see 75% of large enterprises implementing ESG data management and reporting software by 2024. The role and impact of technology teams in supporting and driving the sustainability agenda goes far beyond just ensuring their data centres run off clean energy.

In our Roadblocks to Sustainability research survey, which 310 shippers responded to in November 2022, we see a perfect representation of the industry challenges and opportunities. 85% of our respondents, which included representatives from companies including Kellogg’s, P&G, Primark, and others, said green freight was a priority. However, they are unwilling to cover the additional cost that renewable diesel or electric HGVs cost carriers. So how to proceed? Well, 78.5% responded that they see the main benefit of digital freight technologies in reducing freight costs, by reducing unnecessary administration, optimising assets and improved communications and tracking.

At Zeus, we firmly believe that technology is the anchor that enables sustainable freight to become a viable option. This, closely combined with more optimised use of multimodal solutions that combine green HGVs with electric rail freight.

Sustainability transformation is the next frontier in futureproofing business operations, and digital transformation is the key to realising it. This is great news, because investing in the right tech now is the only way organisations can ensure they’re ready, and able, to traverse the path to net zero.

2023 has also been a transformational year for Zeus too. As a tech-driven freight startup we decided that the commitment to sustainability was too great a need to side-line. We are proud to say that we are the first digital freight transport provider now publicly committed to no longer offering diesel HGVs for new clients. Instead, we are using our freight technology to empower a low-carbon multimodal solution that, in its initial pilot with P&G Europe, reduced carbon emissions by 148,000 Kg in their first 140 shipments. All tracked using GLEC (Global Logistics Emissions Council) methodologies, of which we also become the 45th member this year. This uses renewable diesel fuelled trucks and our routing technology to streamline the entire process. P&G have now adopted the solution at scale.

Rather than viewing rising costs and economic uncertainty as barriers to decarbonisation, we need to open our eyes to the wider business benefits of moving towards net zero, and the benefits of digitising that journey. Because technology is how we make sustainability economically viable. Through automation, optimisation, and analytics, tech solutions are already driving business efficiencies and, as a result, cost reductions, while at the same time delivering on sustainability goals.

By using cloud-based solutions and data analytics, organisations can identify ways to reduce waste and emissions, optimise shipping routes, and reduce transportation costs. Analysing traffic patterns and weather conditions for example, helps pinpoint the most efficient shipping routes and reduces delivery times. Consolidating loads helps reduce empty legs and cuts unnecessary journeys.

As well as making operations more efficient and cost effective, there are other benefits to digitising your supply chain and putting sustainability at its core. Those early adopters will be the market leaders, building a brand reputation that appeals to environmentally and socially conscious consumers, and opening new markets for their products or services. Of this, there can be no doubt.

As our co-founder Clemente Theotokis states: ‘climate change is no longer a debate, it’s a deadline’. The role of digital technologies and tech leadership in executing sustainability is critical. Let’s make the future of freight a sustainable one.

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