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Warehouse industry moves forward on sustainability

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
July 22, 2011

Green initiatives are finally taking hold in the final frontier of today’s supply chain: the warehouse.

The International Warehouse Logistics Association recently announced the first metric-driven, facility-output-based sustainable logistics program for warehouse operations in North America, called the Sustainable Logistics Initiative (SLI).

SLI participants – 3PL facilities – report and engage in a rigorous and objective measurement process. Continuous improvement of each facility is the benchmark. The entire process is verified by an outside independent organization, The Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation (

Participating organizations will self report and have data verified in many areas:
? Environmental Responsibilities – the green aspects of sustainability such as electrical use, fuel and water consumption, and recycling;
? Social Responsibilities – including safety and community activity measurements; and
? Profit Responsibilities – sustainability will generate a cost savings through increased efficiencies and
improved operational excellence. (This enables participants to provide clients with proof of sustainable

Participating facilities will receive a Sustainable Logistics Initiative certificate to display as proof of their participation in creating an ecological supply chain. As their metrics improve, facilities can achieve silver, gold or platinum status in the program.

“The process is inexpensive, user friendly and data input is easy to complete,” said IWLA President & Chief Executive Officer Joel Anderson.

Richard K. Bank, director of the Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation, said, “SLI does not require substantial allocation of resources by IWLA member companies in order to achieve significant progress in making the industry more sustainable and more profitable.”

In addition, Anderson and Bank said members who participate in the new program can be assured that their data will be handled with strictly maintained confidentiality at all times by IWLA and SSFC.

The SLI program is available only to member companies of the International Warehouse Logistics Association.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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