We attended DHL’s Era of Sustainability Logistics Conference. Here are Our Key Takeaways.

renan zorer

Intelsius attended the DHL Era of Sustainability Logistics Conference in Valencia, Spain from 25-27 April this year. Our Business Development Executive, Renan Zorer, represented Intelsius Germany at the event. We spoke to Renan recently to glean some of his key takeaways from the conference. Here are his answers to some of our burning questions:

What was the DHL Era of Sustainability Logistics Conference about?

The Conference was aimed at gathering decision-makers, thought leaders, and stakeholders from a range of industries to focus on collaborating to create sustainable solutions for logistics and supply chains. The theme was “Cleaner, Greener Logistics” and featured eight different interactive zones where delegates were able to actively take part in to learn more about innovative solutions in sustainable logistics.

Why did we attend the Conference?

I felt it was important to attend the Conference as I wanted to learn more about how businesses can move towards sustainability and circularity in a real way. The interactive areas at the Conference were very eye-opening, as they focused on various areas within sustainability in businesses, like strategy, compliance and circularity. I was most interested in the circularity area because packaging falls under the remit of circularity, so it was very beneficial for Intelsius to attend. It was also a great to chance to network with professionals in the logistics industry, as everyone is striving towards a sustainable future and we all need to work together to achieve this.

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What happened at the conference?

There were many different businesses and industries that took part in the Conference, which was beneficial for understanding everyone’s part in the sustainability journey. All the delegates had the option to choose from either an interactive zone or a Masterclass, the latter of which delves into sustainability topics in detail. It was great to see that many businesses are recognizing the need to move towards sustainability and more circular operations. I spent time in the circularity-focused interactive zone, which allowed me to learn about other companies’ sustainability goals and strategies. There was also much discussion about the concept of return logistics and how there needs to be a very intricate and well-established network of partners working together to properly facilitate it. In the packaging sector, return logistics is a very important facet of the circular economy as it directly impacts waste reduction and carbon emissions. There were also case studies presented to illustrate the impact a multi-use packaging system has on carbon emissions compared with a single-use, “green” packaging system.

What were the key takeaways?

Multi-use packaging and circularity

The key takeaway for me from a packaging perspective, was how much better a multi-use packaging system is for sustainability. In a multi-use system, the manufacturing process is only performed once, which means it uses less resources and produces less carbon emissions. As the parcel is reused multiple times, the manufacturing process does not need to be repeated, therefore reducing the effect on the environment in both emissions and waste.

Even if materials used for green packaging are compostable, the resources and processes needed to keep manufacturing them would outweigh their benefit to the environment. This is a concept that I try to explain to our customers, as there is an overarching perception that green materials automatically make the product better for the environment, when in fact, the opposite is true.

In other words, circularity is better for the environment than solely using green or compostable materials in temperature-controlled packaging. While we do understand this, circularity is also a developing concept not only in packaging, but across other industries. Ultimately, the success of circularity rests very much on the strength of the return logistics infrastructure in place.

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Executing return logistics and its role in circularity

Another takeaway from the Conference was the difficulty and complexity of executing return logistics. While multi-use is the best option in terms of performance as well as sustainability, the system behind the transport of the packaging would have to be put in place quite well. Some of our customers ship products to very remote locations or places where transport is not well connected, which would pose a challenge for return logistics.

Ultimately, achieving true circularity is a long-term process. However, it was encouraging to see other businesses equally interested to find a sustainable solution for their industry. At Intelsius, we do not want sustainability to simply be a glamorous word. We want to take actionable steps toward becoming a sustainable business.

Strategising sustainability

For a company to truly be sustainable, there needs to be a strategy, and the entire company has to function as a whole to achieve those targets. Across the packaging sector, it is still a challenge to balance between creating a durable and high-performance solution that is also sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

This is why at Intelsius, we feel it is very important to obtain the relevant accreditations and certifications for sustainability in our business. We are committed to creating solutions which are friendly for the environment without compromising on quality and performance.

What is Intelsius’ strategy for sustainability moving forward?

Achieving Net Zero goals

At Intelsius we have a Net-Zero Strategy, and we are committed to achieving Net Zero by 2050 across all our global sites. To give us an idea of what needs to be done to work towards this goal, we worked with Climate Partner in 2021 to calculate our corporate carbon footprint for our UK operations. Our overall carbon output for our UK HQ is 208 tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalent per year. You can read about our carbon calculating with Climate Partner, and the full report here.

net zero strategy graphic

We are actively working towards implementing more environmentally sustainable working practices to reduce our carbon output. Currently, some of the ways we are working towards net zero are through reducing electricity usage by installing solar panels and recycling 100% of our waste cardboard.

In our Frankfurt-based German office, our fridges and freezers are 100% powered by renewable energies. We are also investing in offsetting schemes, such as expanding our tree planting commitments and will continue to look for other ways to positively impact our local environment in a positive manner.

In 2023 we conducted our first Ecovadis assessment, an accreditation which requires us to submit documentation and evidence in four defined areas: environment, labour and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. Ecovadis takes a holistic view of Intelsius as a business  to determine a rating score out of 100, which garners a bronze, silver, gold or platinum rating. Intelsius currently holds a Bronze Evocadis rating and is in the 63rd percentile of the packaging industry, which makes us above average for our sector.

For more information on how we are making strides towards being green and sustainable, click here.

Rental and Multi-Use Options with Intelsius

As well as committing to carbon reduction and offsetting schemes, we also manufacture reusable temperature-controlled packaging solutions like ORCA Multi-Use and provide circular economy packaging solutions like rental solutions like ORCA Rental, which allows packaging to be used many times, enabling a more environmentally-friendly process. We offer full refurbishment services for our rental solutions, which keeps the parcel in its best-performing condition throughout its use.

rental benefits info

Our multi-use and rental options are also customisable to all our customers’ needs, qualified for a range of temperatures and durations.

Reuse and circularity are the way forward for the sustainability of our planet. If you would like to speak to someone at your local Intelsius team to find out more about our solutions, click here. Or, you can email our Customer Service department at cs@intelsius.com.

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