Even though logistics companies are competitors, working together to achieve sustainability goals reaps numerous mutual benefits, according to two keynote speakers at FreightWaves’ 2022 Net-Zero Carbon Summit on Friday.
“If you invest in companies that have sustainability deeply ingrained in their DNA, the competition versus cooperation thing disintegrates because we’re all here on a collective mission, which is we need to help improve the economy in a really fundamental way,” said Joy Tuffield, a partner with Generation Investment Management, an investment firm that seeks out companies that prioritize sustainability.
Companies are more apt to collaborate when they see the cost and operational benefits that mutual sustainability initiatives bring, according to Dan Lewis, CEO and co-founder of digital freight network provider Convoy.
Implementing sustainability initiatives can benefit companies by making operations more efficient and reducing company costs, Lewis told host Danny Gomez, who also serves as FreightWaves’ managing director of financial and emerging markets.
For instance, Convoy is working with a group of U.S.-based shippers by looking at their networks simultaneously, identifying opportunities for collaboration. These opportunities might include finding round trips for truckers and reducing the frequency of truckers driving empty.
Convoy also has a new offering in which brokers and 3PLs can put their loads into Convoy’s digital network, and that network enables users to stitch together more convenient jobs for truck drivers.
“In supply chain and freight, there are a lot of opportunities for ‘coopertition,’ or collaboration amongst companies that may be also competing,” Lewis said.
“At first, a competitor might wonder why we’re doing this: ‘Why would you give us access to your technology and to your carrier network.’ We talk about it through the lens of the carriers. These truck drivers are trying to get their trucks full — that’s our priority.”
“Money talks and efficiency talks, and that’s what we’re driving,” Lewis said. Showing clients the potential solutions via data also “generates a reaction where people want to step up and do better.”
The push for companies to take up sustainability could be the start of a fundamental shift in the way businesses operate, Tuffield said. A sustainability revolution could have the scale of the Industrial Revolution and the speed of the technology revolution, she said.
“We have been witnessing a crescendo moment, and I do think when [the sustainable revolution] happens, it will happen very quickly and it will be dramatic,” Tuffield said.