It’s really an inoffensive word — externalities — but when it refers to freight transport, it can be quite offensive. The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) uses it to describe the external costs that undermine sustainability objectives in freight transport.
Externalities include such issues as congestion, pollution, fossil fuel depletion, infrastructure degradation, Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) and noise. It’s imperative that logistics providers take steps to ensure their policies encourage and contribute to sustainability.
"Over the last few years, there has been constant pressure from investors, shareholders, customers and non-profits to push a freight sustainability analysis," Karen Sage, chief marketing officer of Transplace and former CMO of MercuryGate, told Supply Chain Dive via email. "Any company looking to conduct a thoughtful and thorough sustainability analysis must look at the direct impact that their business has on the community, environment or workplace. Such an effort requires both visibility tools and processes to achieve success."