"Sustainability and cost-cutting do go hand-in-hand, and there's no excuse now for using cost as a get-out for not going green."
So says software developer Barloworld Optimus whose carbon emissions tool CAST-CO2 played a key role in a significant contract win and an internationally-recognised award for one of its long-term clients, CEVA Logistics.
Last month, CEVA was awarded a Lean & Green Award by Connekt, a Dutch sustainability forum in recognition of a CAST-based supply chain re-think that's not only expected to yield transport cost reductions running into millions for a major ship engines and power plant manufacturer, but is also described as 'a best-practice example of a CO2-friendly supply chain re-design'.
"It would be difficult to imagine a clearer illustration of the close relationship between economics and sustainability, and if ever proof was needed that there are considerable financial advantages in going green, this is surely it" commented Barloworld Optimus' Global Business Development Manager Fraser Ironside.
Just returned from a month-long speaking tour of Asia - where aside from addressing more than 200 thought-leaders on the issues of carbon reduction and its impact on cost and the environment he also noted China's growing support for environmental responsibility - he said that the sustainability message is continuing to get through, despite world headlines being dominated by oil prices and the credit crunch.
"Despite of - or maybe even because of - global economic problems, the message that sustainability and cost-cutting go together is demonstrably gathering momentum, and the recent CEVA success is just typical of the kind of effect the right software is having on both fronts".
Released earlier this year and already notching up success stories with a raft of international clients including Colgate Palmolive, Safelite, DHL Exel, Lexian, Belron and CDW as well as CEVA Logistics, pre-release proving trials on CAST-CO2 resulted in a 28% reduction in carbon emissions coupled with a 9% decrease in costs - factors considered irresistible to companies coming under increased global pressure to tackle carbon emissions while reducing rocketing supply chain and transportation costs.
Designed to significantly reduce emissions in supply chains, the tool includes the in-built ability to factor in carbon while optimizing supply chain networks, providing data measured either as CO2 or carbon.
According to CEVA Logistics, CAST-CO2 played a significant role in the recent project delivered for its 7.763 billion turnover Finnish client, Wrtsil.
CEVA's brief was to conduct a strategic network review to calculate the scale and extent of potential carbon emissions reduction initiatives for the Helsinki-based corporation, including a detailed analysis of all European aftermarket spare parts shipments,
The preferred outcome based on weight and frequency of shipments, distance between warehouses and customers, mode of transportation and associated costs is a new central distribution facility in the Netherlands.
Due to come on-stream by 2011 the facility is expected to result in faster and more efficient deliveries of aftermarket spare parts for its seven product companies in Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.
Both companies share the same views on CO2 reduction - citing the initiative as high on their lists of priorities - and projections via CAST indicated notable CO2 reduction due to the reduced air movements and shorter distances generated by the consolidated and centralized spare parts hub solution, all coinciding with 'significant' transport costs savings.
The sheer scale and potential impact of the proposal attracted the attention of Connekt, a Dutch forum set up to promote smart and sustainable 'mobility' thinking among logistics service providers and other associated organizations - naming CEVA Logistics as one of just nine recipients of the 2008 Lean & Green Awards and citing the project as 'exemplary for defining and monitoring carbon footprint'.
According to Fraser Ironside, the move 'ranks among the strongest evidence yet' that the sustainability message is hitting home - a view also backed by the Carbon Trust whose latest findings include 27% of UK firms recognising climate change as an 'opportunity', with 32% now instigating plans to cut emissions.
"We're now finding that responsible companies are beginning to demand the same corporate and social responsibility standards from their suppliers as from themselves, while some logistics contractors are already receiving requests from prospective customers to disclose the environmental impact of any proposed distribution network" he said.
"The evidence is clear: sustainability and cost-cutting do go hand-in-hand, and it's now harder than ever to escape from it" he said.