Going Green - Only When it Doesn't Cost Too Much

Many have gone shopping and come across environmentally friendly, or green, items. From natural fiber linens and bags to organically grown fruits and vegetables, these items tug at the green side of our conscience. Ironically, the green tag typically cost us more green, as in cash because they sell at a premium over regular, non-green designated items. When given the choice to spend more on green items, do you? And, be honest.

If you’re like me, then you likely haven’t, and who could blame you. The recession has impacted many aspects of our lives, namely our wallets. The same kind of thinking is true with 3PLs and their customers. While 3PL green initiatives are looked upon positively, customers aren’t willing to pay for them, according to a new study “Third Party Logistics Sustainability Report”.

Conducted by Robert C. Lieb, Professor of Supply Chain Management at Northeastern University, and Dr. Kristin J. Lieb, Assistant Professor of Marketing Communication, Emerson College, the study shows that while customers care about how 3PLs are reducing their carbon footprint, green doesn’t translate into more green for 3PLs. In fact, they don’t play a significant role in 3PL selection or retention.

So you know, 3PLs have been experimenting with alternative fuels, freight consolidation, and recycling programs among other initiatives which are all worthy pursuits. But the message from customers as ARC Advisory succinctly states is clear, “We want 3PLs to invest in becoming greener, but we don't want to pay for it.”

Here’s hoping the green mentality changes as the economy improves. While we don’t want to pay for it now, future generations will certainly pay for it later.