Logistics: optimising processes to reduce environmental impact

High-performance logistics ensure that our customers have access to our full product range and fresh wares every day. We differentiate between transport logistics, i.e. distributing goods to the stores, and supply logistics, i.e. transporting goods from the place of manufacture to our distribution centre.

Transport logistics offer potential for improvement

Following store operations, transport logistics are the second largest producer of CO2 emissions, at a share of 23% of the emissions covered by the Company Carbon Footprint. In addition to using our own vehicles, we cooperate with a number of transport companies. Overall, our own fleet vehicles and the vehicles used by the transport companies for transport logistics – altogether almost 3,000 vehicles – cover about 300 million kilometres per year. From 2012 to 2014, the absolute amount of emissions, measured in CO2 equivalents, caused by these vehicles increased by 24.2%. This was mainly due to the ongoing expansion of our operations. 

Optimum planning and modern technology reduce emissions

In order to reduce the impact our logistics have on the environment, we are focussing on designing the most efficient processes and using the most modern technology. Highly economical route planning, which not only saves fuel, but also time and money, is our starting point here. Another important element of our logistics is energy-efficient multi-compartment vehicles. They enable us to transport products in different temperature zones in one vehicle. This means frozen, fresh (such as dairy products), and unrefrigerated products can be transported at the same time, thus using all available capacity efficiently.

The ALDI SOUTH Group is continually modernising its fleet. When making new acquisitions, we only consider low-emission vehicles that meet the latest exhaust standards in the countries in question, and we strive to implement legal requirements before deadlines. These criteria also apply as mandatory minimum requirements for the transport companies with whom we work long-term.

Many of our drivers regularly receive training on the most economic and environmentally friendly way to drive. This training is also mandatory for the drivers from transport companies with whom we work regularly. We also optimise the use of vehicles further via telematics applications, which will in future be implemented in all countries.

Gradual optimisation of supply logistics

In the area of supply logistics, we work together with our suppliers to continually improve processes which both reduce logistics costs and are better for the environment. In a number of cases, we organise the transport of goods ourselves, or help to improve logistics processes together with our transport companies.

In all countries, we are increasingly making use of hub concepts for pooling the flow of goods, particularly for goods from overseas. By using hubs, we can group together the transport of goods that must travel the same route despite coming from different suppliers. This avoids unnecessary journeys and also reduces emissions.

Technological innovations

If there are no technological alternatives on the market, we develop and test our own solutions. An example of this is our testing of lightweight fleet vehicles. These vehicles feature carbon structures that make them three tonnes lighter, use 20% less fuel, and have a greater load capacity than traditional models. However, the test showed that due to the high costs of manufacture, this technology is not yet economically viable. After the end of the project the three test vehicles were kept working in our fleet.

Commitment to sustainable logistics at national level

The countries have also implemented their own individual measures. Hofer is a member of the Council on Sustainable Logistics (CNL) – an association of 15 large retail, logistics, and production companies in Austria. Its primary focus is a cooperation between manufacturers to develop commercial vehicles powered by electricity.

ALDI SOUTH in Germany is participating in the “Lean and Green” initiative, which recognises companies for their efforts towards minimising CO2 emissions in logistics operations. All participating companies commit to achieve a 20% reduction in relative CO2 emissions within five years. ALDI SOUTH’s starting year was 2012.

For more information on the ALDI SOUTH Group’s climate strategy, see Efficiency: optimise energy consumption, Refrigerants: using climate friendly alternatives and Green electricity: opting for renewables.