Sustainability Survey 2021

sustainable logistics

Between May and July 2021, Ti undertook a perception and usage survey examining a range of issues related to the sustainability policies employed within the logistics and supply chain industry. 143 executives from around the world took part in the study representing all major sectors of the industry, both supply and demand-side.

Attitude to Sustainability

Over the past decade, there has been a significant change in the way which logistics and supply chain executives view sustainability. In general terms almost half of respondents said that they believed that environmental initiatives gave their company a competitive advantage. A further third stated that it improved their corporate image whilst only a small minority suggested that regulatory compliance was the only reason behind a focus on sustainability.

Although many business sectors (including within logistics and supply chain) have been criticised for so-called ‘greenwashing’ (that is, paying lip service only to environmental issues), it seems from our survey that the majority take sustainability important enough to have put in place a formal environmental policy.

However, this is not as encouraging as it first may seem. When Ti undertook its first environmental survey in 2008 the equivalent response was 64%. It seems that the proportion has only slightly increased over the intervening 13 years.

The majority of respondents stated that they believed that their corporate environmental policies were ‘moderately effective’ with a further fifth saying that they were ‘highly effective’. In some respects the positive view of the effectiveness of environmental policies is very encouraging. However, the results are broadly similar to the last survey conducted in 2016, showing that little progress has been made. In the coming years it will be important for companies’ CSR departments to show that their policies have moved from being regarded as being moderately to highly effective.

Carbon Emissions Measurements and Targets

One of the key areas of interest probed by the series of Ti’s environmental surveys over the years has concerned carbon emissions measurements and net zero targets. It can be seen from the figure below that initially there was big progress in terms of emissions measurement. The proportion of respondents saying that their companies measured emissions almost doubled between 2008 and 2016. However there has been far less progress over the last five years. This is quite a worrying state of affairs as it is becoming far easier to track emissions and without measuring them it will be impossible to assess progress towards net zero targets.

Does your company attempt to measure the impact of its business on the environment? (e.g. carbon footprint)










The proportion of respondents which stated that their company had committed to achieve a net zero target was just over half. It is not surprising (given the number of companies which have yet to start measuring emissions) that over a third had still to commit to a target. In the coming years, it is inevitable that more companies will adopt targets, not least due to regulatory and investor pressure.

Respondents were also asked about how likely they thought that government goals would be reached by 2050. There was a fair degree of scepticism: almost two fifths thought these goals would not be achieved. This is obviously very worrying given the importance that has been placed upon mitigating climate change.

Source: Transport Intelligence, July 29, 2021

Author: Transport Intelligence

This brief has been taken from a larger paper, ‘2021 Sustainability Survey’ written by Transport Intelligence in partnership with The Foundation for Future Supply Chain. This paper is available exclusively to GSCi subscribers. Each week, Ti’s team of senior analysts and industry experts deliver analysis covering the latest logistics and supply chain trends exclusively to users of GSCi.