The Role of Circular Economy in Transport Logistics - Integretrans
March 1st, 2024

The Role of Circular Economy in Transport Logistics

In the context of global challenges related to climate change, next to the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we can increasingly see the promotion of the implementation of circular economy principles in a parallel position. At the Integre Trans group of companies, we identify climate change and waste management as two key environmental topics on which we have a significant impact, so our strategic environmental objectives include the goals to become a climate-neutral company by 2050 (in the GHG Scope 1 and Scope 2), and to implement the principles of circular economy. In this article, we will talk more about the circular economy, its integration in the transport sector, our progress and strategic goals for the future.

What is a circular economy?

To reduce the amount of waste generated and the use of resources in the world, the linear economy based on the model “take, produce, consume and throw away” had to find its alternative and it became the circular economy. Its implementation is aimed at extending the life cycle of products and materials, which allows to reduce the resources required for their production and the waste generated, and at the same time contributes to the maintenance and restoration of natural systems.

The long-term use of products and materials is ensured by repeated production and recycling systems, product reuse, product repair, sustainable consumption, also the formation of new business models in the market, e.g. “Product-as-a-service” business model, which provides a loan, rental or sharing service instead of individual purchase of the required product. A significant part of the potential of circular economy implementation also lies in the product design stage. At this stage, the materiality, form, functionality, durability and other important parts of the product are chosen, which determine the amount of resources and energy consumption required for the production of the product, as well as its longevity perspective.

Integrating these circular economy principles into business models helps maintain and restore natural systems, while potentially decoupling economic growth from resource consumption.

Why is the circular economy significant in the context of sustainability?

“Circularity Gap Report 2024” indicates that the global circularity rate from 9.1% in 2018 decreased to 7.2% in 2023. This means that out of all materials consumed in the world, more virgin materials are used now than ever before, and the share of secondary materials in the market is decreasing.

At the same time, it means the ever-increasing and deepening global challenges, for the solution of which the circular economy is used. First, the circular economy is extremely important in the environmental context – it reduces the consumption of natural resources, the loss of biodiversity, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, the destruction of landscapes and ecosystems, and energy consumption. In addition to environmental benefits, it also serves to accelerate business – it encourages competitiveness, the implementation of innovations, and promotes economic development.

Circular economy in the logistics sector

The transport and logistics sector has a wide range of circular economy integration solutions within its scope. One of the main ways for the transport sector to contribute to the promotion of the circular economy is the optimization of transport networks. The implementation of advanced IT solutions in the company’s activities allows to reduce the number of empty kilometers, to optimize order delivery routes, as well as to combine orders, thus not only reducing the costs incurred by the company, but also the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The integration of intermodal solutions into route planning also contributes extremely successfully to the reduction of GHG emissions.

Own truck fleets managed by transport logistics companies also have a lot of potential in the context of the circular economy. By renewing individual vehicle components, restoring them and integrating aftermarket products, businesses can extend the life of vehicles while also reducing the need for new components. The same steps can be taken when looking at administrative-office activities, where the principles of restoration, repair, aftermarket acquisition, recycling and longer use of products can also be successfully applied to promote a circular economy at all levels.

Looking to the future, new technological solutions will gain increased importance, allowing for even more optimization and efficiency of transport activities. Equally important will be collaboration and coordination across the value chain, involving various stakeholders to work together to create an enabling environment that fosters a culture of innovation and sustainability.


Circular economy in Integre Trans

Integre Trans sees the implementation of circular economy solutions as a strategic direction in the context of sustainability. In the resource and waste management plan, we have set the following main goals: by 2026 we will strive to move to waste management based on circular economy principles (reduce, reuse, recycle); until 2030 we will strive to buy 100% of services only from sustainable, reliable suppliers and when making decisions on purchases we will take into account the sustainability criteria applied to the supplier; until 2030 we will aim to reduce the Scope 3 GHG emissions generated by our subcontractors by 15% compared to 2023 level.

In addition to constantly improving routes optimization and transport efficiency processes, in pursuit of the most modern and useful solutions, we also live every day in compliance with other “circular” principles related to the company’s activities and educate our employees, deeply believing in the principle that only a society that is conscious and interested in the well-being of the environment can initiate good change on a large scale.

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