Paving the Way for Sustainable Logistics via Green Channel Mapping
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Paving the Way for Sustainable Logistics via Green Channel Mapping

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Sustainable Logistics contributes to India's net zero commitment to a cleaner and greener future. With the growing demand for green solutions, green logistics companies are responding by implementing circular economy logistics with the green channel and sustainable supply chain. India is seeking to create a green channel for e-commerce exports on the lines of China's cross-border integrated e-commerce pilot zones that offer simplified customs procedures to promote faster movement of such shipments. The Commerce Department is planning with the Revenue Department to streamline procedures for e-commerce exports and create a plan to create a green channel for e-commerce exports and expedite these shipments. 

Warehousing Facility

The country plans to develop e-commerce export zones where export clearances are done quickly, and such zones will be set up near airports. The dedicated e-commerce export hubs will have warehousing facilities for easy storage, customs clearance, returns processing, labeling, testing, and repackaging. The move is expected to aid sellers relying on online platforms, including social media such as Instagram, to sell the merchandise. A green channel for exports could be developed with packaging, labeling, and destination mentioned, as well as scanning machines to fast-track shipments. Likewise, the country is looking at just-in-time clearance for these exports.

The commerce department has studied the Chinese model for such exports and best practices that could be incorporated. The move assumes significance as India has set a target of $1 trillion in merchandise exports by 2030, aiming for a compound annual growth rate of 12.2 percent, and cross-border e-commerce trade has been identified as a source to meet this aim. India's e-commerce exports done through the postal and courier routes are pegged at $1.5 billion.

“To demonstrate leadership, we have committed to ambitious targets across the dimensions of environment, social, and governance, including our industry-leading commitment to net zero carbon emissions across the business by 2040. Our target is aligned with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) 1.5-degree pathway by 2030. We aim to achieve Net Zero across our business and provide 100 percent green solutions to our customers by 2040. This covers all our solutions across ocean shipping, landside transportation, warehousing & distribution, and so on,” said Vikash Agarwal, Managing Director of Maersk South Asia.

“Mahindra Logistics has been encouraging partner fleets to adopt CNG-powered cargo and mobility vehicles. The company targets to have 20 percent of the warehouses solar-powered by the end of FY2024 and is investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy. In keeping with our pledge and strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, Mahindra Logistics has not only joined SBTi but has also been successful in getting their validation of its targets for carbon emission for 2021,” says Ankur Singhai, Vice President, e-commerce and Last-mile Delivery Business, Mahindra Logistics.

Skills Gaps in the Green Economy

The world is on the verge of a significant step forward as countries, including India, begin to take steps to meet their net-zero commitments. While the technology being deployed to help with these commitments is evolving rapidly, the same cannot be said for developing the talent and skills needed to support these changes. More than 65 percent of India's population is of an age where they can be productive contributors to the workforce. This demographic strength is helping the government to welcome global manufacturing into the country.

"However, if society is to continue to be an attractive destination for global companies exploring the sustainability of their supply chains, it is necessary to demonstrate that the workforce is also skilled enough to support green transitions."

Demand from Indian companies is also growing as they begin to adapt to India's own net zero requirements and other countries' export requirements. The country is at a tipping point – unless it starts building the workforce to support the green economy, all the efforts elsewhere will be for naught. It is estimated that India has the potential to create 35 million green jobs by 2047, an exciting number that quickly becomes intimidating when asked where to find the talent needed to fill the 35 million new roles. 

Renewable energy, waste management, electric vehicles, sustainable textiles, and green construction will drive green growth in India and host the highest number of green jobs, according to a recent Skills Council study. This is very similar to what we see in other countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, where Bridgespan has done similar mapping of the emerging green economy.

Skilled workforce for Green Transition

The two most pressing workforce needs are reskilling and upskilling in these industries, where the nature of people's jobs is beginning to change due to the incorporation of green strategies. The introduction of training programs for growth industries such as clean energy and e-mobility needs to be accelerated to ensure a skilled and stable talent pool. The growth of the electric vehicle industry in India is a huge opportunity to upskill existing ICE workers to transition to assembly lines and EV manufacturing. The green hydrogen supply chain in India can acquire talent by retraining labor from other industries. 

Getting to net zero is a long-term commitment that will also open up new jobs and create additional demand as the change gains momentum. It is, therefore, very important that we prepare the future workforce for green jobs by introducing appropriate technical courses into the education system and incorporating green skills into existing training. In Australia, for example, green skills are being added to construction education programs. The Philippines has implemented a national plan to provide green skills through vocational education. Also, in China, there is an ongoing effort to incorporate green skills into the apprenticeship system. Soon, shortly, acquiring green skills will no longer be considered a nice-to-have, but rather a basic requirement for the jobs of the future.

To implement solutions to address skills gaps in the green economy, we must address diversity and inclusion. In India, the construction industry employs some of the most socio-economically and educationally disadvantaged people. Rural women and artisans are found at the end of the clothing industry's supply chain. Unless the country invests in retraining and upskilling, the most vulnerable will be left behind in the quest for green glory. Strengthening the manpower pool for India's green transition needs to be not only skilled but also equitable.