An overview of France's current logistics system

The e-commerce industry is growing and with this growth comes a significant environmental impact.

France delivered 1.3 billion parcels in 2021, leading to 300,000 tonnes of packaging waste. Additionally, around 20% of packages were not delivered at the first attempt, resulting in extra costs and pollution. Furthermore, urban logistics account for up to 20% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Despite these numbers, consumers are eager for change, with 62% feeling that retailers' delivery practices need to be more environmentally friendly.

This blog post will guide how to transition your e-commerce brand to green logistics in France. Doing so, you can reduce the environmental impact of your brand, improve your reputation, and fit with the consumers values.

Step 1: Assess your current logistics practices

The first step in transitioning to sustainable logistics is to assess your current logistics practices. Understanding the impact of your current logistics practices on the environment is essential for identifying areas for improvement. This assessment should include an analysis of your carbon footprint, waste, and pollution.

To assess your carbon footprint, consider the following factors:

  • The type of vehicles used for transportation
  • The distance travelled by vehicles
  • The number of shipments per day or week
  • The weight and volume of the products shipped

To assess your waste and pollution, consider the following factors:

  • The type of packaging materials used
  • The number of packaging materials used per shipment
  • The disposal of packaging materials

Once you clearly understand your current logistics practices and their impact on the environment, you can identify areas for improvement. For example, consider switching to electric cars if you use traditional fossil-fuel vehicles for transportation. If you are using single-use packaging materials, consider switching to sustainable materials.

It's essential to involve other stakeholders, such as employees, customers and suppliers, in the assessment process.

💙 Bigblue Tips

Below are French rules and laws about green logistics to help you meet requirements and transition successfully:

Step 2: Research sustainable logistics options

Now you know what to improve, research sustainable logistics options that are best suited for your e-commerce brand in France. There are many options available that can help reduce your environmental impact and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. Some of the most popular sustainable logistics options include:

  • Use electric vehicles for transportation that have zero emissions and can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Use sustainable packaging materials made from natural, renewable resources and break down quickly in the environment, reducing waste and pollution.
  • Work with eco-friendly carriers: Many shipping companies offer eco-friendly options (hybrid vehicles, eco-friendly packaging materials, renewable energy sources, etc.).
  • Implement sustainable practices in the warehouse —for example, you can use energy-saving lighting, eco-friendly energy sources, and recycled materials.
  • Build sustainable reverse logistics—for example, recycling or repurposing your returned or damaged products or encourage packaging upcycling.
  • Use sustainable delivery methods such as electric vehicles or bicycles can reduce the environmental impact of the last part of shipping.

When exploring eco-friendly logistics solutions, account for your company's necessities and restrictions, as well as what is offered in France. Weigh the pros and cons of each option to select the one that is most suitable for your budget and resources.

💙 Bigblue Tip

At Bigblue, we are committed to offering a green and efficient logistics experience for e-commerce businesses! To transition towards greener logistics, our warehouse in Tigery obtained the Ecocert certification. We also use recyclable packaging, work with green carriers and our technology helps prevent address errors. If you want to learn more about our sustainable logistics solutions, feel free to contact us!

Step 3: Develop a sustainable logistics plan

Once you have identified areas for improvement and researched sustainable logistics options, the next step is to develop a sustainable logistics plan. This plan should outline the steps and timelines for implementing sustainable logistics practices and the resources and budget required.

When developing a sustainable logistics plan, it's crucial to involve all relevant stakeholders, such as employees, customers, and suppliers. You'll ensure that everyone knows the program and understands their role in implementing it. Involving employees in the planning process can also help to build buy-in and increase their engagement in the implementation process.

Here are some tips for developing a sustainable logistics plan:

  • Set clear and measurable goals for reducing your environmental impact
  • Identify the specific sustainable logistics options that you will implement and the timeline for implementation
  • Identify the resources and budget required for implementation
  • Develop a communication plan for educating and engaging employees, customers, and suppliers about the plan
  • Develop a monitoring and reporting plan to track progress and identify areas for improvement

Involving all relevant stakeholders in the planning process is critical to ensure the plan is realistic and achievable. For example, applying customers and suppliers in the planning process can help to identify any potential challenges or opportunities that might arise.

💙 Bigblue Tips

Here are some of the French carriers that offer eco-friendly options such as electric vehicles for transportation and eclogical packaging materials:

Step 4: Implement and monitor

Once you have a plan for sustainable logistics, implement it to reduce your environmental impact. All stakeholders must be dedicated and understand the plan's aims and deadlines. Start by regularly analysing your carbon footprint, waste and pollution and comparing them to your initial assessment. It's also important to review your sustainable logistics options to ensure they meet your goals and are still adapted to your business.

You can get support from specialised and recognised companies to calculate your carbon footprint and build greener operations:

Several brands like Patagonia have successfully implemented green logistics plans and are reaping the benefits.

By monitoring and tracking your progress, you can ensure that you meet your goals and identify areas for improvement.

Step 5: Communicate and educate

It's crucial for the success of your green transition to communicate about it with your employees, customers and suppliers.

Here are some examples of how sustainable brands have effectively communicated and educated their stakeholders about their sustainable logistics practices:

Unbottled boxes can be transformed into handkerchief, jewellery or cake boxes in no time
  • For an extra 1€, SMOON’s customers can receive their period-proof underwear in Hipli’s reusable packaging.
Hipli's packaging, made of eco-friendly materials are reusable more than 100 times.
  • Parisian brand Rouje collaborated with influencer Ruby Pigeon in January 2023 to promote their first 100% upcycled collection from leftover seasons.
Thanks to upcycling, a long winter coat from Rouje is transformed into a small mid-season jacket

Switch to green logistics in France is a process that requires commitment, planning, and execution. Following the five steps outlined in this article, you can reduce the environmental impact of your e-commerce, improve your reputation, and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.