Published on April 10th, 2008 | by Paul Smith10
How To Make Your International Shipping Greener
For most people, shipping something quickly internationally boils down to a small bowl of alphabet soup: DHL, UPS, or FedEx. End of story. It’s just how things get done. But for an increasing number of people, they’re aware of the fact that airplane flight plays a major part in contributing to global climate change. But most only know part of the story.
In a conversation with Justin Brown of First Global Xpress, I began to find out: All the major international shippers use a “hub and spoke” system to distribute packages. In a case of bureaucracy overriding logic, a package sent from New York to Europe may first go to New Jersey, then go several miles in the wrong direction, to Memphis Tennessee, then back overseas, taking in the sights at several major and regional sorting centers until it arrives. Why? It defies logic, in terms of efficiency, ecology, and economy.
And get this: according to Justin, 30% of jet fuel consumed is during take off. So, add up those extraneous miles, plus the fuel consumed each flight, and you’ve got an enormous carbon footprint here, an unnecessary one.
What to do? Enter First Global Xpress. What’s different about them? First off, they fly direct to the intended destination via the cargo space on a commercial airliner, of which they have reserved space on 95 airlines, and growing. In most cases, multiple flights a day are available to take your package. And generally speaking, your package will get there 24 hours earlier and 20% cheaper then the big boys.
Shipping that’s both more sustainable and affordable, how about that? But that’s not enough for Justin. He is of a new wave of green entrepreneurs that see a way to integrate their emerging green personal values with their business values, for the benefit of all.
Though he could easily say that his company is green, as compared to others, he wisely has chosen to forge on, examining how First Global Xpress can do even better. And even then, he prefers to refer to the company as shipping greener, not green. He knows that overseas expedited shipping will never be totally green, and even encourages clients to seek local options where possible, rather then ship. A sign of a businessman who sees the bigger picture, to be sure.
And Justin has chosen to be very transparent about the process, through the newly launched blog, shipgreener.com Shedding light on the industry, showing their experiments, the successes, the goofs, the whole thing, this is no perfect shiny self promotional wank. Knowing that people don’t want to hear about shipping all day long, he’s got plans to take you along on his NYC bicycle commute, talk to other business people venturing into the green waters, and more.
What else is in store then as far as greener international shipping at First Global Xpress? From how they package their packages to how they get them there on the ground, they will be improving and overhauling how they do what they do. (Details here) In fact, they’ve set the ambitious goal of reducing their overall carbon footprint by 66% by the end of the year. Will they do it? Who knows, but kudos to them for setting such an ambitious goal. Talking to Justin, I can tell you it’s not just hot air. Watch them do it. Better yet, make them your international shipper.