The ICLEI EcoLogistics Community is the first city network globally committed to a sustainable urban freight future. The Community leads sustainable urban freight development in their cities and drives global actions in the international stage through collaborative exchange and action plans and stakeholder engagements.
Through a service-oriented structure, collective learning exercises, peer-to-peer exchanges and joint activities, the Community advocates the awareness of sustainable urban freight and helps committed cities accelerate the implementation.
EcoLogistics Peer-to-Peer Exchange was hold on September 29, 2021. In this meeting,Taoyuan shared the experience of developing EcoLogistics indicators by working with logistics operators:
In the beginning, we would like to introduce the role of the EcoLogistics Chair Office.
Firstly, we do continuous research on up-to-date information related to EcoLogistics innovation and new technologies such as hydrogen energy, circular solutions for packaging, last-mile electric vehicle, to name a few.We also help collect suggestions from different parties and organize policy recommendations for the local Department of Environmental Protection.While collecting policy feedbacks, developing local demo sites, and holding training programs for logistics service providers, we play a crucial role in bridging policymakers with multiple parties and diverse stakeholders.
In collaboration with ICLEI, one of our main tasks is to utilize the EcoLogistics Indicator as a guiding tool for policy development. The indicators also give us a holistic guideline for data needed to understand the logistics industry’s current status. There are four dimensions and 75 different indicators. In order to collect the required data, we contact various municipality departments and a broader level of logistics service providers. As you can see in the slide, we can divide logistics service providers based on the scope covered by their services.
It is a great experience to exchange with private sectors as they are the first-hand service providers who can bring in actual data for local logistics. However, it also comes with challenges.
Due to the global influence of the pandemic, logistics service providers face a huge increase in demand. Most of them were busy dealing with piles of orders and could hardly spare time for external collaboration.
It was also difficult to meet with them in person, which believed to be a better way to start the conversation.
The second challenge is the difficulty of accessing information, especially from the private sector. We found that most logistics service providers are not familiar with the EcoLogistics concept, so they might not have relevant data.
Moreover, some of the indicators under operational efficiency include internal or even sensitive information that might cause unwillingness to reveal--for example, an indicator of salary by gender or illegal loading and unloading.
Some information might be too complex to collect since the logistics industry has no data record or is not familiar with the term used.
To deal with the challenges, we develop three strategies.
First of all, to simplify and balance the language. We filter out the indicator information we need to collect from the logistic service providers, and classify it into three categories, general operation, warehousing, and delivery related. Then, we set up questionnaires under each category through online google forms. We make sure the questions are simple and easy for the logistic service providers, and they can also easily pass on the categorized questions to departments in charge.
Secondly, in order to collect internal information, building mutual trust is the key. Through holding training programs for the logistics industry, we share the idea of EcoLogistics with a broader range of private sectors. Also, before asking companies to fill in data collection questionnaires, we first conduct interviews with them to introduce the chair office, our mission, and the purpose for EcoLogistics indicator and collect first-hand policy recommendations.
Lastly, we think it’s important to be flexible on both times and forms when engaging with stakeholders. Data collection could be a long process that requires gradual steps starting from trust-building. So it’s suggested to be patient and time-flexible on data collection and give both parties more time to digest the information.
And due to COVID, a few of our preliminary interviews with the logistics service providers were conducted through online meetings, which allows us to open up collaboration even under the difficult situation.
We also keep track of the logistics companies after releasing the questionnaires. So to make sure to complete the tasks at the same time.