The last year has given new meaning to the term disruption. As we slowly recover from the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are thinking about old challenges in innovative ways and cultivating a new vision for moving forward. Seizing the moment is the fast-growing logistics platform Freight Club. The British Columbia-based company is taking proactive measures to offset pollution in the coming post-COVID freight landscape.
Freight Club enables shippers to quote and book less-than-truckload (LTL) and parcel shipments at enterprise rates through its fully integrated shipping platform. The platform’s extensive carrier network connects shippers with a vast network of full-truck and LTL carriers, plus ground, parcel and white-glove delivery providers.
Starting January 2021, the multicarrier shipping platform is offsetting 100% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from every shipment. To pull this off, Freight Club is opting for a delightfully natural option — planting trees. The best part? The company is offsetting at no cost to its members.
Using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol calculation (used by 95% of Fortune 500 companies), Freight Club determines each shipment’s impact and the amount of CO2 emitted in transport. The number of trees required to offset the CO2 is determined by its partner organization, One Tree Planted, a global reforestation nonprofit, which has planted over 15 million trees since its founding in 2014.
Why trees? Trees are carbon absorbers and use the gas to build their trunks, branches, roots and leaves. Mature trees can absorb 48 pounds of carbon in just one year.
Freight Club’s green dream was inspired by the natural beauty surrounding its Canadian headquarters. Freight Club’s senior vice president, Chris Randall, treasures the Pacific Northwest’s dense greenery and amazing air quality. Randall wanted to use something more tangible than traditional carbon offset credits, and trees are a physical representation of Freight Club’s commitment to bettering the environment.
Freight Club’s reforestation efforts have first taken root across the United States, more specifically in California. The company’s “Eco-Journey” is featured extensively on its blog, which explains how last year’s devastating wildfires across the Golden State drove the company’s decision to plant new trees instead of conserving existing forests. California plans to replant the 3 million acres of land ravaged by fires, and Freight Club is proud to support these lofty goals.
Randall notes that Freight Club’s primary focus is to plant where it drives, then expand to other regions over time. Given the rapid pace at which Freight Club is growing — 160% year-over-year – he’s confident the company will reach its vision of planting a million trees by 2025. “As our shipments go up, the number of trees per month goes up, too,” Randall said.
According to Randall, response to Freight Club’s offset initiative has been amazing, not just from clients but from partnering companies and carriers, too. “I’ve had a few people tell me that they’re going to implement the same program within their own company, which is very flattering.”
Chris Domby, chief supply chain officer at Ware2Go and a Freight Club 3PL customer, applauds the green initiative and believes these efforts could set an industry precedent on environmental protection. “Freight Club’s offsetting program is an excellent example of how the fast-growing logistics industry can and should rethink its long-term impact on the environment. It’s an excellent alignment of our brand values and customers’ values, and it’s a great opportunity to partner together to create a more sustainable logistics industry.”
Perhaps Freight Club’s proactive stance will set a precedent. With the increase in e-commerce shipments, they believe the time is now. “In terms of the surge in e-commerce shopping, the increased number of shipments is driving up the number of trucks on the road.”
At 28.2%, transportation generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions by sector in the United States, according to a 2018 Environmental Protection Agency study. In comparison, electricity production comes in a close second at 26.9%. Research shows e-commerce shopping is likely to continue a high-growth trajectory as consumers grow more comfortable buying online. According to Digital eCommerce 360, the percentage of total U.S. retail sales conducted online was 21.3% in 2020, up 15.8% from the previous year.
With a greater percentage of the retail carbon footprint coming from e-commerce, online sellers have a unique opportunity to take the climate crisis into their own hands. For Freight Club, sustainability initiatives all level up to their mission of leveling the playing field for retailers of all sizes. “We wanted to remove all barriers of entry to sustainability. That’s why we’re doing it at no cost for members,” said Randall.
Freight Club’s free offset offering complements its suite of free-to-use shipping technology enabled by parent company Cymax Group, a prominent BC-based e-commerce SaaS provider. According to Randall, Freight Club’s offerings include volume discounts across 30-plus carriers (many of which specialize in LTL residential delivery), claims handling, secondary insurance, tracking and more.
“Our goal is to act as the one key contact for customers,” Randall said. “You don’t have to reach out to any one of the carriers that you’re using for assistance; you just go straight to Freight Club.” Freight Club’s holistic approach paired with the unique carbon offset offering proves to be the ultimate sustainable shipping solution without compromising tech-savviness.
“Freight Club is in that relentless pursuit of ease,” Randall said. “We’re trying to make the life of the e-commerce retailer easier through tech that provides an end-to-end shipping solution for everything they need. Right now, sustainable solutions are a necessity and will continue to be.”
As the consumer demand for sustainable solutions increases, simple solutions like Freight Club will become critical for small to medium businesses wanting to stay competitive. With a zero-barrier solution that contains everything a shipper needs plus dedicated customer service, Freight Club proves to be the answer to seamless sustainability.