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Supply chain to be powered by greener fuels

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Posted on 21/02/2013 by Wayne Brophy FCILT

Logistics and supply chain managers are increasingly looking for new ways to reduce their carbon footprint, with sustainability and environmental issues now higher up the corporate agenda than ever before

Writing for Manufacturing Business Technology, West Monroe Partners supply chain management consultant Yves Leclerc says the need to go green is driven not only by the perpetual struggle to reduce wastage and save money, but also by the attitudes of customers, who are becoming increasingly conscious of environmental concerns and are now scrutinising "the conditions in which the products they buy are made and transported."

This trend could well revolutionise the way top logistics workers operate, with those in supply chain management jobs having to dramatically re-adjust their focus.

For this reason, home-improvement firm B&Q has announced a new deal with Gasrec, Europe's only supplier of Bio-LNG fuel, and will now use the green energy source to power its new fleet of 50 dual fuel lorries.

Bio-LNG is made up of 25 per cent Liquefied Biomethane (LBM) and 75 per cent Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), resulting in 70 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than diesel fuel.

The biomethane in Bio-LNG comes from entirely renewable sources such as household waste and sewage, none of which is imported, and is the only green fuel currently available for use by heavy goods vehicles.

Gasrec already supplies its product to a number of leading companies in the UK and abroad, including the likes of Coca-Cola, Tesco and Sainsbury's, and Bio-LNG is expected to help B&Q achieve its aim of halving its carbon dioxide emissions by 2023.

The DIY retailer has also received planning permission to install a biomethane gas filling station at its Swindon Distribution Centre, with Gasrec supplying the energy.

Gasrec’s commercial development manager Doug Leaf commented: "B&Q has taken the lead in utilising what is now a widely available fuel in the UK which delivers savings in both cash and carbon terms."

Mr Leclerc is now predicting a major shift within the global supply chain as more and more companies look to base their operations around sustainable energy sources, though insists this is a long-term process and will not be brought about by "an overnight switch".

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