Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Charting a sustainable future

Charting a sustainable future

The release of Unique Logistics International’s (UNQL) inaugural Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report was inspired by a commitment to reduce the impact of UNQL’s activities and contribute to the fight against climate change. 

“We understand this will be a long-term commitment to be had across employee, vendor, and partner interactions. So no better time to start than now,” Mickey Diaz, Chief Operating Officer of Unique Logistics, explained.

The report highlights the company’s dedication to conducting operations responsibly, with service management systems aligned to monitor ecological impact. Socially, programmes ensure health, wellness, safety, and efforts toward diversity and inclusion, reflecting values and a belief in responsible business practices for long-term success.

“Unique Logistics integrates sustainability into core practices through a focus on procurement practices,” Diaz stated.

“This includes selecting vendors who implement sustainability programmes, which include insetting activities, such as truckers who use biofuels or offsetting such as carbon credits. 

“Technology that can be used to calculate and report status quo as well as look at how we can optimise transits with the least negative impacts to lead times.”

READ: IATA named leaders in digitalising the airfreight industry

Partnering on projects

Actively collaborating with customers on ESG strategies, UNQL engages in ongoing discussions to understand their objectives, surpassing traditional business relationships as they consistently work towards finding ways to reduce or offset their carbon footprint and that of customers.

“We have frank discussions on how we can provide impacts and how it will affect their supply chain either positively or negatively,” Diaz highlighted. 

“This approach enhances sustainability commitments, contributes to environmental well-being, and strengthens customer relationships through transparency, choice in solutions, and shared responsibility.

“We are dedicated to supporting our community, and our Unique Change Squad (UCS) committee looks to see what we, as a company or employees, can contribute to various causes.

“We volunteer not only our money but also our expertise and time at every level of our organisation, participating in community improvement projects.”

Reacting realistically

In 2022, UNQL’s dedication to environmental transparency drove the company to evaluate the carbon footprint of all shipments for its clients. The calculated total stood at 207,134 metric tonnes of CO2e (measured from wheel to wheel), establishing a baseline for sustainability initiatives. 

“We have set an ambitious goal of reducing our clients’ emissions by 30% compared to our 2022 baseline,” Diaz revealed.

“The realism of current sustainability goals within the airfreight/aviation industry is contingent upon industry collaboration, tech advancements, and regulatory frameworks, which play crucial roles in determining the achievability of these goals.”

While considerable progress has been made in fuel efficiency and emissions reduction, achieving long-term sustainability requires ongoing innovation and commitment from all industry stakeholders.

“To ensure accountability, Unique Logistics established binding guidelines that govern actions, and we are willing to subject ourselves to measurements against them,” Diaz continued. 

“Additionally, we hold our suppliers and business partners to high standards regarding human rights, equal opportunities, non-discrimination, freedom of association, product safety, healthy working conditions, and minimum wage. 

“Unique Logistics is committed to enhancing robust governance by managing the process by which organisations are directed, controlled, and held to account. We prioritise ensuring that authority, accountability, leadership, direction, and control are exercised in an organisation. 

“We also prioritise incorporating trade compliance and enforcing a code of conduct and ethics to maintain our core values. Trade compliance is crucial in ensuring the opportunity for companies of any size to reach global markets within the laws and regulations that govern trade.”

READ: Boeing makes its largest-ever SAF purchase

Available alternatives

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has been an initiative that is difficult to reach in most of the trades UNQL serves, however, as advancements in SAF occur, there is likely to be broader accessibility. 

UNQL envisions aligning its business with air carriers transitioning to SAF. By forming partnerships with environmentally conscious companies, the company aims to contribute to a better world and promote sustainable growth. 

“Economic factors such as high initial investment costs for sustainable technologies and fluctuating fuel prices may hinder progress toward sustainability goals,” Diaz explained. 

“Collaboration among industry stakeholders, government support and investment in research and development will be essential to overcome these barriers and achieve meaningful sustainability outcomes. Additional barriers also include technological limitations and regulatory complexities. 

“By making emissions for freight routes visible (with our C02 calculator), our customers can compare the alternatives between air and sea freight to work out the best solution. 

“Unique Logistics has minimised scope two emissions impact by embracing a paperless approach throughout our operations and choosing facilities with energy-efficient lighting systems. We also operate under remote schedules, which reduces energy consumption in the office.”

 

Picture of Edward Hardy

Edward Hardy

Having become a journalist after university, Edward Hardy has been a reporter and editor at some of the world's leading publications and news sites. In 2022, he became Air Cargo Week's Editor. Got news to share? Contact me on Edward.Hardy@AirCargoWeek.com

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