Net Zero by 2050: Leading the Way in Supply Chain Carbon Reduction

The race to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is more than an environmental goal—it’s a global imperative. As climate change accelerates, businesses across all sectors are taking decisive action to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a sustainable future.

Supply chains stand at the forefront of this challenge. The complexity of modern supply chains, spanning multiple countries and involving numerous stakeholders, demands innovative solutions and a commitment to continuous improvement. From raw material sourcing to last-mile delivery, every link in the chain presents an opportunity to reduce emissions and promote sustainability.

Enter Trax. Our expertise in transportation spend management, data analytics, and transportation optimization empowers businesses to make long-lasting, impactful changes toward developing a sustainable supply chain.

As we look toward a net zero future, the role of sustainable supply chains cannot be overstated. In this article, we’ll explore how supply chain emissions are a significant factor, our approach to supply chain sustainability, and the future of sustainable supply chains.

The Urgency of Net Zero Emissions

The current state of global emissions has reached a critical juncture, demanding immediate and decisive action. The urgency of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is paramount, as recent data paints a stark picture of our current trajectory. 

Fossil fuels pumped a record-breaking high of over 36.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2022. This figure underscores the pressing need for transformative change in business operations.

Rising global temperatures now trigger more frequent and intense extreme weather events, disrupting supply chains, damaging infrastructure, and threatening food and water security. For businesses, these climate-related risks translate into significant financial and operational challenges. Moreover, the economic costs of climate change are staggering. Left unchecked, climate change could plunge an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030, according to World Bank projections.

Supply Chain Emissions: A Significant Contributor

Transportation, logistics, and manufacturing processes all generate substantial greenhouse gas emissions, making supply chain sustainability a critical issue for businesses and the planet. McKinsey reports that supply chain activities account for up to 90% of a business’s total carbon footprint. Focusing on sustainable supply chain practices is no longer optional; it’s essential for meaningful climate action.

Leading companies across various industries have already taken bold steps to implement sustainable supply chain practices. For example, Patagonia, a renowned outdoor clothing brand, set ambitious goals to achieve net-zero emissions across its entire supply chain by 2025. Starting in 2017, the company prioritized practices such as investing in renewable energy projects and using recycled materials to offset its carbon footprint.

Similarly, IKEA, a global furniture retailer, has made significant strides to create a more sustainable supply chain. Researchers at The University of Winnipeg conducted a case study on IKEA’s supply chain management. They found that IKEA made sustainability a central part of its supply chain operations through eco-friendly manufacturing, efficient distribution, and close collaboration with suppliers to meet environmental standards.

By reducing supply chain emissions, companies contribute to the fight against climate change and reap tangible business benefits. Streamlined routes and smart shipment consolidation slash costs and improve operational efficiency. Moreover, consumers increasingly prefer brands that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability, enhancing the reputation and competitive advantage of companies that prioritize supply chain carbon reduction.

Trax’s Approach to Supply Chain Carbon Reduction

At Trax, we understand the critical role that supply chains play in the global fight against climate change. We designed our comprehensive suite of solutions and services to help our clients reduce their supply chain emissions and achieve their sustainability goals. 

As a leader in transportation spend management, data analytics, and transportation optimization, we’re uniquely positioned to drive meaningful change in the supply chain industry. We understand that our customers need valuable insights to make informed decisions about logistics and transportation.

Reducing carbon emissions within the supply chain requires more than one approach. We’ve identified three key areas to focus on for achieving sustainable supply chain operations:

Optimize Transportation Networks

Trax’s transportation optimization solutions help clients optimize their transportation networks by automating the audit process and identifying opportunities for consolidation and optimization. This lets clients reduce the number of shipments, minimize empty miles, and improve overall transportation efficiency, reducing costs and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Reduce Fuel Consumption

Trax’s logistics optimization solutions are crucial in reducing fuel consumption within the supply chain. By leveraging advanced routing and scheduling algorithms, we help clients optimize their transportation routes and reduce miles driven, ultimately minimizing fuel consumption.

Promote Sustainable Practices

Businesses can develop and implement sustainability strategies that align with their unique objectives and environmental goals. This includes:

  • Implementing carbon offset programs to compensate for emissions that cannot be immediately reduced.
  • Exploring opportunities for modal shift, such as transitioning from air to ocean freight or road to rail transport, where feasible.
  • Implementing a robust freight audit and payment program to capture detailed transportation logistics data to leverage into sustainable strategies.

Our Carbon Emissions Optimization Checklist helps businesses identify areas to reduce their environmental footprint and boost their bottom line. Get it here.

The Future of Sustainable Supply Chains

As businesses increasingly prioritize sustainability, the future of supply chain management will undergo a transformative shift. Emerging trends and innovations pave the way for greener, more efficient, and resilient supply chains. 

Key trends include:

  • Circular Economy Principles: Designing products for longevity, reuse, and recyclability while implementing closed-loop supply chains. This reduces reliance on new materials and creates new business opportunities.
  • IoT-Enabled Smart Solutions: Using connected devices for real-time tracking of goods, optimizing asset utilization, and reducing waste. Smart warehouses can automatically adjust systems to reduce energy consumption.
  • Electric Vehicles: As technology improves, EVs become viable alternatives to fossil fuel-powered trucks, significantly reducing carbon emissions.
  • Renewable Energy: Companies increasingly invest in solar and wind power, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and mitigating energy price volatility.

At Trax, we’re committed to staying at the forefront of sustainable supply chain solutions. Our experts constantly explore new technologies and innovative approaches to help our clients reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their sustainability goals. From advanced freight audit and payment solutions to cutting-edge data management tools, we provide the insights and expertise to drive meaningful change.

Contact Trax today to learn more.

Trax Technologies

Trax Technologies

Trax is the global leader in Transportation Spend Management solutions. We partner with the most global and complex brands to drive meaningful optimizations and savings through industry-leading technology solutions and world-class advisory services. With the largest global footprint spanning North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, we enable our clients to have greater control over their transportation performance and spend. Our focus is on your success.