Human Rights and the Logistics Industry: Raising the Standards for Due Diligence

Human Rights and the Logistics Industry: Raising the Standards for Due Diligence

The logistics industry runs the world. It is responsible for business-to-consumer movement of goods as well as business-to-business life-critical industries like oil and gas, automotive and construction. Despite its large influence, the logistics industry needs to reinvent itself on two fronts: the just and equitable treatment of workers and reducing its contribution to global pollution.

Control greenhouse gas emissions

Better route optimization is one way. Route optimization has been around since the inception of logistics and transport as an industry. However, Big data analytics, Artificial intelligence and its subset technologies can help discover new routes that are shorter and yield more miles for fuel consumed. The end result is a considerable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Better route optimization is one way. Route optimization has been around since the inception of logistics and transport as an industry. However, Big data analytics, Artificial intelligence and its subset technologies can help discover new routes that are shorter and yield more miles for fuel consumed. The end result is a considerable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Restrict hazardous Waste Removal

One promise every logistics supplier makes is that it will ensure safe and damage-free delivery of goods. In order to keep this promise, logistic players must use a variety of packing materials which often includes a combination of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials.

When the shipments reach the intended destination, the packing material is discarded, most often without any effort to separate it from biodegradable waste. As a result, these materials blend with natural environs, spiking the levels of toxicity.

While this situation cannot be entirely prevented, the level of pollution can be restricted. Using biodegradable packing materials and reducing the amount of materials used are both viable options. Better planning of consignments can help batch packages of the same size or material together. This would help bring down the overall use of non-biodegradable packing materials.

Set up grievance mechanisms

Employees in the logistics and transport industry often experience poor working conditions. They have an acute shortage of rest and recreation, often have to pull long hauls that affect their sleep routines and have poor access to sanitation and healthcare facilities. As a result, the attrition rate in the logistics and transport industry is very high.

Human rights guidelines insist every employee must be provided a mechanism through which they can communicate their grievances. The transport and logistics industry is no exception. Employers must take special precautions to ensure that employees in all cross-sections of the industry have a channel through which they can voice their concerns.

Prevent Discrimination

The International Labor Organization has listed the transport and logistics sector as one of the key sectors where low-wage unemployment is concentrated. Truck drivers are among the largest group when it comes to pay disparity and poor incentive systems. Such unfair remuneration systems are discriminatory in nature compared to other workers in the same logistics and transport industry. Although not recorded and studied, there is also a wide gap in the remuneration offered between male and female truck drivers despite working conditions, routes and deliverables being the same.

There is a pressing need for the sector as a whole to establish a non-discriminatory stance towards remuneration and incentives. Companies operating in the sector should benchmark their salaries with peers operating in the same space.

Create an environment for collective bargaining

America’s trucking industry is powered by 1.8 million drivers (Business Insider). Despite being such a large group, the unionized truck driver population has dwindled in recent years. The direct result is that truck drivers are unable to earn as much as they used to do in the past. The industry is slowly losing its sheen as a decent blue-collar job which provided a reasonable source of income.

As Lee Epling, a truck driving stated to Business Insider, Truck drivers are unable to collectively bargain for better wages due to two reasons - Don't have enough time or money to strike. Also, bringing together all truck drivers under one roof has become difficult due to the dwindling presence of unions.

The UDHR recognizes collective bargaining as a basic right for every human being. Especially for a sector like truck driving or its parent industry like logistics, there is a pressing need to create an environment where truck drivers can collectively bargain for better wages.

Last-mile points…

If the logistics industry stalls for a whole day, an entire economy can come to a standstill. This was proven when Chicago’s economy took a major hit when truck drivers went on a nationwide strike in the 1970s. But today, truck drivers do not have the strength of Unions. They also face several challenges that are threatening the long-term feasibility of trucking as a career.

Read more:Common Logistics Technology Issues and Their Causes

It is up to the logistics and transport industry to make amends to resolve the situation. They have to adhere to the human rights guidelines to ensure that logistic employees receive fair treatment. They have to adopt fair practices to ensure that they are mindful of their approach towards every logistic and transport employee who runs the industry.

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