Sustainability in Logistics thanks to IoT & Co.

28.06.2021 by Pauline Batzer
Bird's eye view of country road in forest


By 2030 the EU aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 55 percent; Germany’s target is 65 percent. Here’s how enterprises in the logistics industry – and not just there – can improve their sustainability by means of digital technologies.

In 2020 Germany alone released 739 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is seen as a pivotal way to combat climate change in Germany and around the world. In the “More Efficiency and Sustainability in Logistics with Digitization and IoT” seminar Telekom experts Ariane Fuchs, Florian Schroeter and Anton Schäfer explain why now is the time for logistics enterprises in particular to boost their sustainability and how digital solutions like the Internet of Things (IoT) can help the industry to achieve this target.

Go Easy on the Environment – for Good Reasons

Why focus on climate protection? On ecological grounds, of course, but there are also economic reasons why transportation and logistics companies need to press ahead with digitization and make their processes more eco-friendly. Telekom’s IoT Marketing Manager Ariane Fuchs says customers in both the B2C and the B2B segments attach increasing importance to the sustainability of business partners and service providers. Green is in demand now and will be even more so in the future. Companies must also observe statutory requirements such as EU and German climate targets. Otherwise, in the worst case, they will face fines.

Logistics and Global Energy-related CO2 Emissions*

In 2018 the transportation sector was one of the world’s largest emitters of energy-related greenhouse gases. Vehicles with combustion engines emit greenhouse gases; they are also released in the course of fuel production. That makes switching to green logistics sooner even more important, and digitization offers many ways to achieve this objective, such as by using the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensors.

Energy-related CO2 Emissions by Sector in 2018
(in millions of tonnes)

  • Power and Heat Generation: 13,978
  • Transportation: 8,258
  • Manufacturing Industry and Construction: 6,158
  • Housing: 2,033
  • Other Energy-generating Industries: 1,613
  • Commercial and Public Services: 850


*Source: Statista/IEA


 

Environmental protection is an issue that motivates Deutsche Telekom too. “We don’t just want to enable our customers to become more sustainable; we also aim to make our own supply chain more eco-friendly,” Fuchs says. Sine 2020, for example, Telekom has relied solely on renewable energy in Germany and, since 2021, throughout the Group.

Solutions for Sustainable Logistics

How can digitization promote climate protection and go easy on the environment? Anton Schäfer, Industry Lead Travel, Transport & Logistics, deals with this topic in the webinar. Logistics expert Schäfer says half of Germany’s CO2 emissions reduction target for 2030 could be achieved by means of digital applications like IoT. Telekom offers logistics enterprises, for example, ten solutions to actively improve their sustainability. Schäfer mentions the following options in particular:

  • Dynamic Route Planning: IoT trackers and other technologies help suppliers to always choose the most efficient route. That saves time and money and also fuel, enabling companies to strengthen their position in the highly competitive transportation and logistics market and at the same time to do their bit for the environment.
  • Condition Monitoring: Sensors that measure temperatures or record shocks and vibrations enable logistics operators to deliver sensitive or perishable goods like medications and foodstuffs to their destinations safely. Waste and resource consumption can in this way be reduced and unnecessary costs are not incurred.
  • Smart Buildings: Sensors enable companies to improve energy efficiency in their storage and administrative facilities. The heating, for example, need not be on in a room if the windows are open. In addition, facility managers can check energy and power consumption data on an Internet platform and identify savings potentials.

Other IoT applications and solutions that Schäfer deals with in the webinar include the paperless supply chain, e-charging, predictive maintenance, and connecting companies along the entire supply chain. Using digital innovations of this kind not only helps logistics enterprises to go easy on the environment; automation can also enable them to improve their efficiency and and profitability.

Reduce Emissions and Costs at the Same Time?

Finally, Florian Schroeter, Senior Manager Sales, Internet of Things, presents specific examples of how logistics companies have been able, with help from Telekom, to implement eco-friendlier processes. Avant Gebäudeservice GmbH, for example, wanted to co-ordinate the work of its approximately 350 employees centrally and more efficiently. In collaboration with Fleet Complete, Telekom set up an IoT solution that made dynamic route planning possible. Avant Gebäudeservice’s cleaning teams can now both take the fastest route to their destination and respond flexibly and faster to customer requests received at short notice. The results speak for themselves. Fuel consumption has declined perceptibly, as have CO2 emissions. Last not least, the company has reduced its costs by 15 to 20 percent.

Telekom and digitization have also given other logistics enterprises a sustainability boost. The use cases that Schroeter mentions range from 5G campus networks and low carbon mobility management to e-mobility. Modern technology can make intralogistics eco-friendlier too.


 


 

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Pauline Batzer
Pauline Batzer

Project Manager IoT

Since 2015, Pauline has been passionate about the variety of the IoT world. She has gained a lot of experience with the Internet of Things from different perspectives by working with customers, partners, and start-up companies. For the Telekom IoT blog she writes about technological trends, products, and innovations in the Internet of Things which are implemented in different industries.