The logistics sector is a model of organisational excellence. In any given business in the industry, a number of moving parts combine to ensure that a well-oiled machine keeps running on time and with maximum efficiency for numerous customers. 

In recent years, the advent of our climate crisis has troubled industry leaders. How can we incorporate much-needed changes to our business to make a meaningful difference without affecting our bottom line or schedules? 

This is particularly prevalent in an industry that champions just-in-time work practices. It is a dilemma that has forced many businesses to maintain the status quo up to this point as CEOs may ask,  what’s in it for me?  

It is not feasible to ignore the climate crisis 

But it is not feasible to ignore our climate crisis any longer. Clients and customers – understandably – want to know about a business’s green credentials, and its roadmap for the future.

However, while modifying energy consumption can appear to be time and cost-ineffective, it really is a business opportunity. No longer do businesses have to make significant capital outlays for equipment in order to meet specific goals, as smart business models mean energy and sustainability are being delivered as a service rather than through a mere product purchase. 

A good starting point for a business operating in the logistics, retail or warehousing sector and looking to cut down on energy bills is to look at lighting. After all, every building needs lighting, and logistics providers need physical spaces in which to work. Lighting usage is also easy to quantify. The key factor here is that advances in lighting technology, such as LED (light-emitting diode) lighting, mean companies can help the environment while also saving up to 80% on their lighting bills, a proper win-win. 

Light as a Service is generating significant interest

Light as a Service is a smart business model that is generating significant interest at present. Through this approach, companies get lighting through subscription – they don’t have to pay money for the equipment or, indeed, take on any financial risk. The lighting is owned and kept in good working order by the provider, which itself makes money on the savings realised from the switch to LED lighting.

This can have hugely positive effects – not just for the environment and a company’s bottom line, but also for marketing efforts. Clients and customers enjoy hearing about good environmental news stories, after all.

But it doesn’t stop there. Lighting is just the first step on the path towards full sustainable and long-term working practices. Renewable technologies can help businesses meet their remaining energy needs. 

The reality is that industrial operators should be looking to come off the grid entirely, becoming fully self-sustainable. Lighting represents one piece of the puzzle, along with HVAC. Other alternative energy sources should be fully investigated and assessed, such as solar power.

Advances in technology making a difference

And it is easier than ever for companies to assess their usage to ensure potential savings can be identified quickly and effectively. Advances in technology have meant that companies can now access their overall energy usage at the touch of a button.

For example, a new trademarked industry app called Dataful can instantly measure a facility’s potential savings on lighting using four key metrics. This means that companies do not have to wait a significant period of time for a detailed site inspection and data analysis over what can be dozens – or hundreds – of sites across many territories.  

Adapting to the climate change agenda may at first seem like a lot of work and potentially pricey, but the welcome reality is that there are operators out there who are able to do the work for you, leaving you with happy clients and customers, a healthier balance sheet, and a better environment.

Declan Barrett, CCO & co-founder, UrbanVolt  

Declan Barrett is Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of full solution sustainability provider UrbanVolt, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland