The Future of 'Green' Deliveries: How Retailers Can Embrace Zero-Emission Logistics


As we collectively strive to create a more sustainable planet, the retail industry has a significant role to play in reducing its environmental impact. One major area of focus is the logistics sector: the future of 'green' deliveries is here.

With influential companies like Amazon investing heavily in green technology like cargo bikes, it's clear that eco-friendly solutions are not just a passing trend, but the backbone of the retail industry's future. But from the likes of Amazon and DPD with their electric fleets, there's an increased focus on totally eradicating emissions. Our latest carrier partner, Zedify, is one such provider focused on zero-emission deliveries to help bring about less-congested cities of the future.

Working together with Zedify, we've produced a piece exploring the rise of zero-emission deliveries and vehicles, and why retailers might want to integrate zero-emission delivery sooner rather than later.

Zero-Emission Deliveries: The Heart of Green Logistics

Zero-emission vehicles like cargo bikes are an increasingly common sight in urban areas, and are a crucial element in the push for greener deliveries. These vehicles produce no harmful tailpipe emissions, because they run on electricity and people-power. .

Light electric vehicles like cargo bikes make a highly tangible statement about the  positives associated with zero-emission delivery. The stark contrast between vehicles like the ones Zedify use and traditional logistics vehicles are a visual representation in the shift logistics is undergoing. It's easy to see that the vehicle is having no impact on the environment, and vehicles such as these are generally more adapted for an urban environment, which can lead to more efficient and successful deliveries with a smile.

“Our research shows that cargo bikes are staggering 96% lower in CO2 emissions per parcel compared to an EV. And it’s not just about carbon, the cargo bike model is faster in heavily congested urban centres, this leads to a better customer experience at the doorstep. Retailers are rightly excited about the possibilities’’ - Jon Williams, Zedify CCO

Combining Traditional and Green Services for Nationwide Coverage

While zero-emission vehicles are ideal for urban deliveries, they may not yet be suitable or available for cross-country logistics. This is where larger, traditional carriers come into play. By partnering with these carriers, retailers can ensure that their goods are transported efficiently across long distances, while still maintaining a focus on sustainability. For example, Zara are currently using Zedify for their local, urban deliveries, but more traditional carriers when delivering outside of urban locations.

To achieve the best of both worlds, many companies are adopting a hybrid approach to logistics - ZEVs for inner-city deliveries and larger, more fuel-efficient trucks or larger EVs for cross-country transportation. This combination allows retailers to reduce their carbon footprint without compromising on efficiency or customer satisfaction.

But this isn't necessarily the endgame of ZEV's and emission free delivery - Zedify are exploring a future where they can effectively serve retailers up and down the country with a zero emission trunking network from brand’s distribution hubs into city centres. We spoke to Zedify on what they predict;

''Both the retail and logistics sectors are beginning a journey to completely redesign their business models to meet the needs of modern consumers and to address resource use and climate change. With new sustainable products and emerging ownership models like preloved and hire, there must be a logistics network that supports those substantial gains from changing how and what we buy. Zedify is building that network from the ground up'' - Harry Hird, Head of Marketing at Zedify

Working with a number of carriers who serve your needs effectively is a massive benefit of managing your carriers in Shiptheory - using rules to determine which services or carriers are used can make it incredibly simple to streamline booking in services with any number of different carriers.

Embracing the Future of Green Deliveries

As the retail industry moves towards a more sustainable future, the adoption of green logistics strategies will become increasingly important to comply with goals for net zero, to meet customer expectations and to help create healthy cities for the future.

By partnering with zero-emission carrier partners for urban logistics, alongside traditional carriers for nationwide coverage, retailers can reduce their environmental impact, save on operational costs, and position themselves as responsible industry leaders.