Committed to the future
GLS is deploying targeted measures to ensure its parcel operations are environmentally friendly. The goal is to use resources as efficiently as possible, lower environmental emissions where possible and contribute to a circular economy through waste management.
Modernising the vehicle fleet with regard to the highest Euro norms, using alternative means of transportation and state of the art IT solutions in route planning are important measures to achieve these goals. The consideration of environmental criteria in maintenance and construction of buildings are essential factors as well.
GLS is increasing fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Its entire vehicle fleet is being gradually converted to more environmentally-friendly models – including the vehicles belonging to its transport partners and its own company cars. As of fiscal year 2017/2018, 94.2 % of all GLS vehicles satisfy at least the EURO 4 emission standard while 71.5 % satisfy at least the EURO 5 standard. GLS also employs alternative vehicles: battery electric vehicles, cargo bikes as well as vehicles powered by compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas.
GLS uses modern, IT-based planning tools to improve operational processes and transport procedures. Optimised route planning and network design minimise transport distances, use capacities cost-effectively and thus reduce CO2 emissions.
The network structure of the GLS Group is based on the hub-and-spoke system. It consists of a single central hub and numerous spokes in a star formation. At the hubs, small quantities are collected and sorted, so that they can be consolidated and delivered to target regions. A seamless hub-and-spoke system makes it possible to ship parcels more efficiently and to optimise routes. It also allows for a better use of capacity and avoids below-capacity utilisation as well as deadhead journeys. For larger parcel volumes, there are direct journeys between the depots that reduce the amount of trips to the central hub.
National subsidiaries improve upon the hub-and-spoke system and adapt processes to their particular needs. At GLS Italy, for instance, routes are planned on the basis of delivery addresses, rather than by postcodes. This allows for improved delivery routes. GLS Germany can differentiate between B2B and B2C recipients within each postcode area and plan routes by address. All this, allows to efficiently serve delivery areas with vans and cargo bikes simultaneously.
Green constructions for GLS: Green aspects are explicitly taken into account when building new sites or expanding existing ones. Rain water harvesting, photovoltaic systems, recyclable building materials as well as heat pumps are used where possible. The share of renewable energy amounts to 33.8 % for all GLS countries.
GLS is improving almost all its operating procedures to make them more eco-friendly, including switching to digital invoices, delivery run sheets and receipts throughout Europe. Moreover, videoconferencing has had a positive impact on the number of business trips undertaken.