Published Thursday 12th December

Sustainability remains one of the most pressing issues for all businesses. Ambitious government targets regarding overall emissions will lead to further regulations and legislation over the long-term, affecting all industries. Coupled with increasing consumer demand for environmentally-friendly options, the need for all businesses to fully evaluate their long-term sustainability practices is more apparent than ever before.

A comprehensive sustainability drive requires an in-depth look at a company’s entire business practices. This analysation period should comprise every area of the business, from head offices to distribution channels and supply chains. While many companies relate emissions to distribution, more sustainable practices can be implemented inside the warehouse as well as outside. There are many ways that a warehouse can be made more environmentally friendly, some of which are obvious and others less so.

Optimising Warehouse Conditions

Heating is one of the more consistent issues when it comes to creating an efficient warehouse. Whether it’s working conditions or a product requirement, keeping the correct temperature in a space that is continuously open often relies on excess air conditioning for most of the year. This problem is why any sustainable warehouse needs to ensure it is doing everything it can to minimise its output when it comes to heating.

As with many points in this article, when it comes to warehouse heating, sustainability and savings are interchangeable. It is worth considering whether your warehouse is as insulated as it can be – no warehouse will be perfect, but measures can be taken to stop as much heat being lost throughout the day. When it comes to keeping employees satisfied, you may also consider different uniform options, such as hats during the winter and short sleeves during the summer, which can help to alleviate the reliance placed upon air conditioning.

Reducing Warehouse Waste

Something that every warehouse should be considering right now is the amount of scrap it produces. Waste is a universal environmental issue, influencing consumer decisions and government legislation. One of the reasons for this is how noticeable waste is in the public eye, but this also makes it one of the easiest things for businesses to improve.

The vast majority of companies will already be evaluating their long-term packaging practices. With recent laws made against single-use plastic, for example, all businesses must be considering the long-term viability of their current packaging practices. Inside the warehouse, companies can improve their waste management by creating a clear, actionable recycling programme. From providing more opportunities for staff to recycle waste goods to creating reuse plans for non-critical materials, many small steps can be taken to improve a company’s waste record.

Modernise Warehouse Lighting

Storage facilities and warehouses that have been around for decades tend to get stuck in inefficient cycles, and lighting is an example of this. A vital part of an operational warehouse, many are still using old halogen bulbs, even though the European Union moved to ban the sale of these last year due to their environmental disadvantages.

There are many reasons why some companies are still using halogen bulbs, with the leading cause being the previous stockpiling of replacements. However, Modern LED alternatives offer a much-improved lifespan and energy efficiency that can save significant emissions, and costs, over the long-term.

Maximise Warehouse Efficiency

As with many issues in the warehouse, much of the site’s performance ultimately comes down to efficiency. The same can be said for environmental sustainability – an efficient warehouse will create more emissions savings long-term. Specific actions can make significant energy savings. The way you schedule equipment can play a big role, for example, analysing the use patterns of vehicles such as forklifts can help to discover inefficiencies in their use.

Ultimately, efficiency is the best way of creating more sustainable business practices across the board – this is where we can help. Here at Expense Reduction Analysts, we are specialists at supporting major companies in streamlining their supply chains. Our industry experts have worked with a range of major UK companies to help refine procurement strategies, improving sustainability and reducing overheads long-term. If you’re looking to reduce distribution costs, improve warehouse efficiency or reach sustainability goals, feel free to get in contact with our experienced team today. Alternatively, browse our case studies to discover the work we’ve completed in your industry.