4 ideas for a greener supply chain

4 Ideas for a Greener Supply Chain

When involved in logistics and supply chain activities in the daily management of our humanitarian response, we all think about how to be more sustainable, and how to achieve a balance between our humanitarian imperative, the environment, social equity, and the economy. 

In 2022, Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers from over the world have contributed with innovative projects to the “Green Logistics Challenge”. Here are some great stories about projects selected by a panel of experts from the IFRC and the ICRC

Green Logistic Challenge 1/4

Bamboo, Banana, and a Green Supply Chain

By Susil Khanal

From Nepal Red Cross Society

The Bambana Box is made of bamboo and banana leaves
In our community, people only use plastic packaging products: directly crates, indirectly plastic bags, too). We wanted to find a local solution to replace plastic.

We have designed an innovative product, called the Bambana Box, which is made of natural biodegradable materials like bamboo and banana leaves. The Bambana box has a light weight, and also increases shelf life of the vegetables by 1-2 days because the banana leaves keep moisture.

Chitwan is a district where bananas are available all season. Bamboo crates are already used, but our innovation utilizes the beneficial aspects of banana leaves in packaging and bamboo crates in handling. 

Fusion of bamboo sticks and banana leaves is a very new concept. The bamboo outer frame of the Bambana box is durable for 2 years, however normal banana leaves need to be replaced between 3 and 6 days (what becomes a tedious job). 

Thanks to a new eco-friendly technology called the “banana leaf technology”, banana leaves can be kept fresh for a year. 

With our trial, farmers from our community will be using the Bambana box for multiple activities. They may use it as a box to carry daily food and groceries materials from the market which accounts for 5 plastic bags in a day.

Farmers can use it as a box to carry daily food and groceries materials, which accounts for 5 plastic bags in a day.
We will also provide boxes to people who buy vegetables and fruits for the family for a whole week at a time, with numerous plastic bags hanging here and there, for transportation and packaging of bought goods.

At the end of this project, we hope to produce Bambana boxes on a large scale to gain share in the packaging market and to contribute to making a better world! 

Green Logistic Challenge 2/4

A green competition to improve waste management

By Hein Htet Zaw & Ei Ei Htwe

from Myanmar Red Cross Society

The waste management initiative includes raising awareness on waste sorting with visual materials
As Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers, we are committed to building a safe, healthy and sustainable communities. And we believe we can drive a change through the Green Logistics Challenge.

During the first phase of the project, we will inform all people in the building about our “Reduce, Recycle, Reuse” initiative for the offices and warehouse, for our National Society to “go green”. 

Waste in the central warehouse of Myanmar Red Cross Society
Assessing the current waste management system can assist us in identifying problems and providing a future direction. As a result, we will evaluate current waste generation practises, paper procurement costs, waste disposal costs, and potential revenue from recycling and reusing office and warehouse materials. This data will be used as a baseline and presented to everyone in our National Society. We will monitor this data on a regular basis to track its evolution.

We will provide training to selected people from targeted departments who will serve as waste management focal points. They will supervise practise and be a part of a waste reduction competition committee: the results of the competition will be publicised every month and will show progress in waste production and management based on data.

We will also conduct different campaigns with visual materials and storytelling, with discussions, photo exhibition, audio, and visual messages. We will engage the youth, invite experts to the office for waste management and/or the recycle service company, and we will celebrate environmental related days.

An office and warehouse waste management plan will be in place, as a deliverable of this initiative. We would like this project to be replicated at a national level so we can make a bigger impact on our society.

Green Logistic Challenge 3/4

Renewable Energy for Humanitarian Actions

By Rabia Tuba Yıldız

from Turkish Red Crescent Society

The Solar-powered Mobile Child Friendly Space can provide energy for 8-9 hours, even after sundown.
Humanitarian assistance sometimes requires a vehicle in movement for reliable operations. These activities often come along with high CO2 emissions, such as the diesel generator systems and waste produced, which contribute to the environment degradation.
Not only promoting a green approach to humanitarian assistance, this program also contributes to social cohesion and inclusive education.
We are proposing to replace the diesel generator system in trailers (used as Mobile Child Friendly Spaces) by a solar-powered system.

The Solar-powered Mobile Child Friendly Space (MCFS) provides a solution that minimizes carbon emissions when delivering humanitarian service in rural areas. It has been tested and used for more than three years, meeting its own energy through solar panels. It is self-sufficient as it can provide energy for 8-9 hours even after sundown.

In addition to promoting a green approach to humanitarian assistance, this initiative also contributes to social cohesion and inclusive education. In order to reach all of the disadvantaged children, the majority of whom reside in rural or seasonal agricultural areas, three traliers have been transformed into mobile charging front space.

This approach and implementation not only preserves the environment, but also raises awareness among beneficiaries and other institutions, NGOs, and policy makers, on how we can use renewable energies in our humanitarian response.”

Green Logistic Challenge 4/4

Big changes begin with small steps

By Adele Elias and Manal Mansour

from Lebanese Red Cross

As a humanitarian organisation, we go wherever help is needed. Simultaneously, we have realised that CO2 is released every day from vehicles used in the risk management sector, in our National Society. Therefore, we have been brainstorming how we can reduce our carbon footprint when driving our vehicles.

After recognizing the problem, we came up with an idea: Designing flyers on eco-driving. The idea was to distribute those flyers to the staff and place them in the Red Cross vehicles. The information in the flyers includes tips for before and during trips, such as reducing overload, performing regular maintenance, not warming up the engine before starting, mindful use of the air conditioner, driving slowly and at a constant speed. Here are the details;

Before the trip

Reduce overload: Remove any unnecessary equipment or tools from the vehicle.

Perform regular maintenance: Periodically maintain the vehicle and keep it in good condition (such as checking tire pressure periodically).

– Plan your trip and share it with others: Collect or share trips with colleagues, and try to avoid unnecessary trips by car.

– Avoid times of congestion: Plan your trips and try to avoid driving during peak hours.

During the trip

Do not warm up the engine before starting: At start-up, do not wait for the engine to heat up, let it run for a maximum of 30 seconds and go. This way you will avoid wasting fuel and causing damage to the engine.

Drive slowly and at a constant speed: Adhere to speed limits (use cruise control when available): The most effective speed is about 72-80 km/h. Driving at a speed of 112 km/h uses up to 9% more speed than at 96 km/h, and up to 15% more than 80 km/h. On the other hand, it high speed increases the risk of accidents. Constant speeds must also be maintained through gradual acceleration and deceleration, and the pedals must be handled with waiting.

Reduce braking and use the gear to reduce speed: Slow down the car by releasing the accelerator pedal – ‘engine braking’ method-, and lift your foot off the accelerator pedal as soon as possible to ease braking use.

Be mindful using the air conditioner: Reduce the use of air conditioner and other energy-consuming equipment, and not set it up lower than 21ºC.

Close windows when driving at high speed: At high speeds of more than 85 km/h, it is best to avoid opening windows because open windows increase dynamic drag and consume extra fuel.

We believe that eco-driving flyers will assist our national society in driving in a more environmentally sustainable manner. Most importantly, they are inexpensive to print, and their distribution requires little effort. We expect to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 25% as a result of this initiative, as well as raise staff awareness about reducing environmental impact while driving.

For a more sustainable supply chain

Looking for more ideas and support for a sustainable supply chain in your National Society?

A compilation of  strong practices is available here.

The Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance is a cross-cutting initiative aimed at improving the environmental, social and economic impact of supply chains in the Red Cross & Red Crescent.

Access SSCA newsletters here.

Get in touch with Juan GALVEZ – Global Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Excellence – Global Humanitarian Services & Supply Chain Management, at IFRC : [email protected]