How to make European distribution greener and more sustainable?

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– Il primo Green Distribution Workshop organized by Europa Distribution ha visto i partecipanti condividere le loro migliori pratiche green per il settore della distribuzione

This article is available in English.

On April 7, European Distribution organized its first Green Distribution Workshop. The event, held online, saw attendees share their green best practices for the retail sector. Although the latter is one of the most enduring industries in the film sector, three major groups needing action have been identified, namely office practices, distribution business strategies and markets, and travel arrangements.

The objective of the discussion was to create the first draft of a toolbox containing the best solutions (plus some good alternatives) to make European distribution greener. It should be mentioned that the toolkit is to be designed as an evolving platform and its first results will serve as a common basis for further discussions on the subject.

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The first group – office work – covers a wide range of items such as supplies, printing, food, travel and electronics. The first recommendation is to reduce energy consumption by choosing green electricity sources; use low energy bulbs/LEDs; set up heat control systems in each room (including smart heating with tools such as Google Nest or Alexa); use night modes for laptops and computer screens (also excellent for reducing eye strain) and opt for eco-programmed dishwashers. Alternative (and competing) options are to wear warmer clothes while maximizing the use of natural light.

The environmental impact of printing activities can be reduced by choosing recycled paper and greener inks as well as by implementing an internal “out of paper policy” requiring that paper usage be kept to an absolute minimum , with little or no print magazine subscriptions. The presence of a few shared e-readers or tablets in the office can also help limit unnecessary paper consumption, especially for script reading activities.

In terms of kitchen supplies, regular recycling of plastic, metal and paper is essential, and while glass bottles may appear to be the better option over plastic bottles, their transport impact is higher because they are much heavier. Speaking of meals, it is recommended to include vegan and vegetarian menus, choose reusable tableware, source from local and regional suppliers as well as purify tap water with a Brita or other similar devices.

At the same time, employers should encourage commuting with bicycles and public transport, while ensuring a high level of adaptability to remote working, especially for parents and caregivers.

They should also encourage the purchase of second-hand and durable electronics; creating e-mail sorting/deleting systems; reducing the size of attachments; disabling social media notifications as well as using green search engines and servers for web hosting. Also, another option to keep in mind is to repair existing devices where possible instead of buying new ones.

The second set of practices, applicable to the sector’s business strategies, is in line with the previous recommendations. Paper use is expected to be significantly reduced, with most promotional materials – for example, flyers, press kits and invitations – being delivered electronically. When printed materials are absolutely necessary, they should be produced on recycled paper. Additionally, the use of QR codes should be encouraged to access additional and expanded content.

However, these rules will need to be explored further, as digital posters, for example, consume a certain amount of energy and are not necessarily more environmentally friendly than recycled paper. On the other hand, posters and flyers printed on recycled paper are generally still of poor quality, and QR codes are less age-friendly. Further consultation and data will help to make more informed decisions and find the right balance between the two approaches.

Next, promotional interviews and online Q&As should ideally take place via Zoom and live streams or, alternatively, talent should travel eco-friendly using trains rather than planes. For previews, invitations should be printed on reusable cards, while DVDs can be wrapped in paper envelopes similar to those once used for CDs – the latter solution, however, poses some problems as such packaging is more fragile than that of a normal DVD. cover.

In addition, the maintenance of FADs should be digital, with a standardized maximum size and the possibility of recycling them for later use. The delivery of the files – possibly compressed – must also be made from a website/platform and servers belonging to the distributor. However, this step can be difficult to implement, for example in France, since distributors are forced to go through service providers in charge of managing personal data.

On the last topic – namely, markets and travel arrangements – participants agreed to avoid long-distance travel (with some exceptions), reduce air travel and, finally, offset emissions. The trains are expected to replace domestic flights and journeys between neighboring countries, including journeys lasting up to six hours. Night train services should also be assessed as viable travel options, where possible. For some events, including those organized by Europa Distribution, the online format should be considered. Informed decisions can be made using CO2 calculators, such as the one available at myclimate.org. Finally, planting trees can also help offset emissions, and initiatives such as those promoted by reforestaction.com and grainedevie.org can be helpful in achieving this goal.

Europa Distribution will organize a new Green Distribution workshop in 2023, again online. The main objective of the initiative is to keep the discussion on the sustainability of the sector active and dynamic, with the prospect of sharing new green best practices as well as new case studies on environmental films during the event. ‘next year. The first version of the toolkit will serve as a starting point for the development of the network’s official green charter.

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