Logistics are an important function of modern transport systems. While traditional logistics seeks to organize forward distribution, that is the transport, warehousing, packaging and inventory management from the producer to the consumer, environmental considerations opened up markets for recycling and disposal, and led to an entire new sub-sector: green logistics
Green logistics describes all attempts to measure and minimize the ecological impact of logistics activities. This includes all activities of the forward and reverse flows of products, information and services between the point of origin and the point of consumption.
Inserting logistics into recycling and the disposal of waste materials of all kinds, including toxic and hazardous goods, has become a major new market. This would mean environmental considerations through the whole life-cycle of a product (production, distribution, consumption and disposal).
Paradoxes of Green Logistics
When adapting green logistics there could be some inconsistencies that might arise. The issue is that green logistics is supposed to be environmental friendly, but logistics in itself is not very green because of pollution and waste that it creates. So when adapting green logistics there are some paradoxes that arise as given below:
Companies wants to get the cheapest way to do things but at the same time they should choose options that are green, which sometimes are more costly to the company. The purpose of logistics is to minimize costs, notably transport costs. The cost-saving strategies that are pursued by logistics operators are often at variance with environmental considerations.
The modern integrated supply chains and JIT provide adjustable and competent physical distribution systems but on the other hand extended production, distribution and retailing models are consuming more space, energy and generate more emissions (CO2, particulates, NOx, etc.).
At the heart of logistics is the overriding importance of service reliability. Its success is based upon the ability to deliver freight on time with the least threat of breakage or damage while the least polluting modes are generally regarded as being the least reliable in terms of on-time delivery, lack of breakage and safety. Ships and railways have inherited a reputation for poor customer satisfaction, and the logistics industry is built around air and truck shipments… the two least environmentally-friendly modes.
A reduction in warehousing demands is one of the advantages of logistics. This means however, that inventories have been transferred to a certain degree to the transport system, especially the roads. Inventories are actually in transit, contributing still further to congestion and pollution. The environment and society, not the logistical operators, are assuming the external costs.
The explosion of the information technology has led to new dimensions in retailing – e-commerce. However, changes in physical distribution systems by e-commerce have led to higher levels of energy consumption.