In our previous part of this 2-part blog series, we looked at the unique challenges of the last mile of delivery and at the circumstances and factors that are driving unprecedented demand for sustainability in the sector. In this concluding part, we look at the impact of conscious consumerism, the options for last mile sustainability and how collaboration is delivering environmental benefit to retailers, e-tailers and customers.
In cities and urban areas, cars, vans, and lorries create gridlock, noise pollution and air pollution. This impacts air quality, causing human respiratory problems. Their emissions heat up the planet and they pollute the environment. Far from enhancing life, they are seen by many as being highly undesirable.
It is an astonishing fact that people moved more quickly around cities in the days of horses and carts than they do now.
During the lockdowns of the Covid pandemic, traffic diminished, and people remembered what it was like to live and work in clean cities.
Now, customers are demanding long-term sustainable and
environmentally conscious solutions that keep the roads clear
and enhance the health of the cities. Retailers too are identifying solutions, and as government and local authorities impose
environmental targets and restrictions in response to the
impact of climate change, they are more challenged by
new operational demands than ever before.
Urb-it is a rapidly growing sustainable logistics platform, with a vision to transform urban logistics – one delivery at a time. Their customer-centric last mile delivery services are conducted by couriers on foot, bike, and our e-cargo fleet in nine major cities across the UK and France.
Urb-it’s sustainable credentials are further endorsed by their status as one of the 4,000 Certified B Corporations around the world. B Corps are a new kind of business that balance purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Together, they form a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using businesses as a force for good.
Urb-it’s sustainable credentials are further endorsed by their status as one of the 4,000 Certified B Corporations around the world.
One way to get the delivery traffic off the streets is to move it underground. A Department of Transport position statement on last mile logistics (published in 2020) considered that “a system of tunnels and tubes with cargo pods on tracks, typically using linear motors, would remove freight and logistics from the roads and, if the electricity to power these is non-fossil fuel derived, is non-polluting.”
However, such a system would require significant infrastructure investment and would cause massive disruption whilst being implemented.
Clearly there are many options, and Daniela Perlmutter, SVP of Marketing at Bringg, is clear that finding the best solution requires collaboration.
“No one retailer can tackle emissions alone; it’s an ecosystem problem that requires an ecosystem solution. In the short term, retailers should partner with delivery logistics providers who use green delivery vehicles, or who pledge to reduce carbon emissions. Now is the time to localise delivery, whether through brick-and-mortar stores, dark stores or micro-fulfilment centres.”
“Retailers are already using technology to reduce emissions; according to Forrester’s survey on sustainability in the last mile, 59% are already using tech to optimize delivery routes. In the long-term, retailers need to get their customers involved, by improving both reporting on emission reductions and getting creative about encouraging consumers to choose greener fulfilment options.”
“Part of the reason this has not yet happened is because retailers struggle to understand how to measure sustainability; they lack consistency in the metrics they use to track and measure carbon emissions. The industry will eventually develop benchmarks that are realistic, if challenging, and hold retailers accountable for reaching those benchmarks.”
SVP of Marketing at Bringg
For retailers and traditional courier services, the sheer volume of deliveries is a massive challenge. They are simply not equipped to cope with this rising trend to consumer deliveries.
The answer for them is to outsource the last mile to a specialist. But with the outsourced courier being the interface between the supplier and customer, this must be a delivery service that appropriately represents their brand. It sounds simple, but it can be far from it, as anyone who has used a random motorcycle courier or ‘man with a van’ can testify.
Sébastien Potts, UK Country Manager of Urb-it, says,
“Retailers and courier services going down this route have to be able to deliver with consistency and professionalism. eCommerce providers must be able to meet the demands of the ethical consumer with an eco-friendly delivery option at checkout. There are many factors to take into account and any issues can lead to late delivery, poor customer experience, rejection or redelivery of goods and substantial additional costs”
“Urb-it was created to deliver a sustainable courier service for final mile deliveries. Our couriers deliver on foot, bikes and our e-cargo bike fleet in major cities across the UK and France.
Urb-it was created to deliver a sustainable courier service for final mile deliveries. Its couriers deliver on foot, bikes and e-cargo bikes in major cities across the UK and France.
Urb-it originated in Sweden and is planning to expand in existing and new markets across Europe. Its introduction to the UK has been welcomed by several household name retailers and e-commerce providers. Its sustainable deliveries appeal to their customers and their sustainability missions, but their commitment is not just for show, as their B Corps status testifies.
Bringg, a logistics software provider operates a cloud platform that connects, automates and orchestrates supply chain technology, people and providers, making innovative delivery and fulfilment models accessible and valuable to everyone. Bringg has partnered with Urb-it to supply the end-to-end visibility and control needed to offer unified, omnichannel experiences across every fulfilment model and touchpoint.
A Forrester survey carried out for Bringg found that “Retailers and direct-to-consumer brands have an opportunity to step ahead of the requirements of local governments and regulators and delight ecologically-savvy consumers. They can do so by working closely with their customers and their logistics partners to enhance sustainability in the last mile.”
UK Country Manager of Urb-it
Through a relationship with Urb-it and Bringg, courier companies, e-commerce providers and retailers have a solution for city deliveries that offers a significantly reduced carbon footprint, provided by an ethical company driven by a desire to improve the health of our cities.
The Forrester survey concludes, “Up to 52% of respondents said their firms plan to implement or expand monitoring of transportation metrics. These metrics include fuel consumption, vehicle fill rate, distance per delivery and carbon emissions per route.”
With the objective of this monitoring being to reduce costs and emissions, finding a partner for sustainable last mile deliveries is high on many priority lists.
As Daniela Perlmutter concludes, “At Bringg, we connect people and brands through innovative delivery and fulfilment that is accessible, usable and valuable to everyone. This increasingly includes making eco-friendly, sustainable delivery a viable and compelling option for both retailers and customers.”
“For retailers, selecting the right delivery partner for each delivery can require a great deal of technical expertise and manual effort. We built the Delivery Hub to provide retailers with instant access and seamless management of dozens of specialized delivery providers and millions of delivery drivers around the world.”
“The Bringg/Urb-it partnership makes Urb-it’s innovative sustainable and automated deliveries easily accessible to the world’s leading retailers. This allows retailers to meet their sustainability goals, reducing the carbon footprint of last mile delivery without compromising quality or customer experience.”
plan to implement
or expand monitoring of transportation metrics