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Sustainability in Logistics - Can gamification help?

It’s urgent!

Transport and logistics organizations are the lifeline of society and contribute around 24% of global CO2 emissions. With the critical role they play, it's essential that they become as sustainable and “green” as possible - as soon as possible.

Leaders in logistics organizations have a grave responsibility to society, to all of our children, and to the planet to do everything in their power to reduce and eliminate emissions and wasteful practices wherever and however possible.

Logistics companies are under increasing pressure to be more sustainable and to make a real impact with their CSR projects. The challenge is how to raise awareness and align goals and behavior so that the company's culture and values are embedded in a holistic approach that gets real results.

Gamification - the use of game mechanics in a non-game context to engage users - is becoming an increasingly popular way to motivate and engage employees. And for good reason: it works! A growing body of evidence suggests that when applied correctly, gamification can significantly influence behavior. So could gamification be the answer to sustainability challenges for logistics companies?

A few examples where a gamification approach could be used include, recycling and lowering energy consumption at facilities, getting drivers to drive more responsibly, using eco-driving techniques, and promoting the use of parcel lockers to reduce fuel and maintenance costs. Reusable packaging, optimized routes, return avoidance, and "waste is food" are additional techniques.

Real-world examples of logistics companies taking action on sustainability:

  • CEVA Logistics analyzed internal ground transport data and redesigned its U.S. hub and routing guides to optimize mileage, cost, and emissions. These efforts saved 1 million miles, reducing emissions by 1,600 tons of CO2 in 2021.*

  • Dimerco implemented a reduce/reuse/recycle green policy for 167 operating units around the world, including eco-friendly purchasing and deploying electric trucks and forklifts.*

  • Echo Global Logistics works with its shipper and carrier partners to adopt procedures that reduce waste through recycling practices, minimize impact by reducing pollutants, increase the use of environmentally acceptable materials, and actively promote environmental awareness. Internally, Echo promotes company-wide recycling efforts, encourages employees to use public transportation when commuting, and provides staff with health and wellness options that benefit them and the environment.*

  • UPS offers solutions such as carbon-neutral shipping, supply chain optimization, and carbon calculators to help shippers with their sustainability journey. The company’s innovation-driven investments include 30+ urban logistics projects to improve last-mile deliveries in cities, 9,400+ compressed natural gas vehicle purchases, up to 10,000 custom-built all-electric delivery vans from Arrival, 100% renewable electricity in all U.S. data centers (as of Jan. 1, 2022), and 70% renewable sources in European facilities.*

  • Bpost is creating eco-zones - a pilot project with the aim of reducing the impact on traffic and the climate of parcel and letter pick-ups and drop-offs. By maximizing investment in its green fleet, with more bikes, the Microhub and a large number of pick-up points, bpost limits both the number of vehicles on the road and the total distance covered in the city centre. (

* ( - 2022 Green supply chain partners)

Gamification can be a powerful tool for driving sustainability projects. By making environmental awareness more engaging, gamification can motivate people to change their behavior and make more sustainable choices. Gamification can also help to create an emotional attachment to the cause, making people more likely to stick with sustainable practices in the long term. Of course, it must be tailored to the specific project and teams in order to be effective. But if done right, it can be a powerful tool for promoting sustainability-related behaviors.

What behavior do we want to change when it comes to sustainability? Gamification applied to sustainability can take many different forms. You could give recognition, points, and rewards to drivers for eco-driving and responsible driving. Or, you could give everyone visibility into the progress of total CO2 reduction and celebrate CSR projects as a company. You could also reward and celebrate customers for using parcel lockers and reusable packaging. Companies can use gamification to influence the behavior of their employees, customers, and suppliers toward more sustainable practices. The possibilities are endless! The important thing is that gamification can help create a common purpose around sustainability.

Employees play an important role in a company's commitment to sustainability. If employees don't understand what sustainability is, or why it's important, they won't be able to put the organization's sustainability strategy into practice. That's why it's so important to educate employees about sustainability before expecting them to take action.

Sustainability is a complex topic, but there are a few key things that every employee should know. First, sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Second, sustainability isn't just about the environment; it's also about social and economic justice. Finally, sustainability requires everyone to do their part. Educating employees about these three things will go a long way toward putting the organization's sustainability strategy into action.

For sustainability efforts to be effective, companies need to adopt a sustainability culture, where the employees' and the organizations’ values for sustainability are aligned and encourage them to proactively support the application of the set values in their everyday organizational behaviors.

The use of gamification can help organizations understand their employees’ values and opinions on sustainability by gathering data from the process. It also has the potential to motivate them with engaging activities that will keep people interested in what the organization does for future projects or initiatives. The strategy can be used as a trigger to re-engage and motivate continuous behavior change for employees' sustainability efforts.

Creating a deeper understanding of the company’s sustainability values and directly relating them to employees' personal values might be one of the best ways that gamification can support sustainable practices.

Combined with recognition and positive feedback, gamification can give employees a feeling of higher purpose and fulfillment from their work.

It’s not easy to combine the right game elements and create an impactful experience. There are complicated psychological concepts involved, like motivation and values. The difficult part for gamification tool designers is finding the right balance between fun and serious, collaboration and competition, digital and physical elements.

Tradler is an engagement solution that uses a blend of gamification, recognition, and data insights to drive sustainability efforts in major logistics organizations.

By creating a captivating experience with new insights, milestones, rewards, and positive feedback, people can be motivated to engage emotionally and intellectually and learn about the organization’s values and the behaviors they can contribute, leading to a strengthened organizational sustainability culture.

Gamification tools that link to the player’s intrinsic motivation are believed to prove more effective in the long run and increase the likelihood of long-term change in behavior. (Gamification for sustainability - Britt van Maurik & Yara Hostettler)

For better results, go beyond the simple formula of points, badges, and leaderboards and focus on creating a meaningful experience. The solution should be tailored to the user but also correspond to the sustainability strategy of the organization and the goals arising from this strategy.

Gamification can have a profound impact on people, giving them a greater understanding of external factors and complex issues. By using game mechanics to inform and engage employees, customers, and suppliers, you can give them a sense of responsibility and contribution. When done right, gamification can be an incredibly powerful tool for education and engagement. So if you're looking to take your sustainability efforts to the next level, consider gamifying your program. You may be surprised at the results.

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