Active Green with Active Ants: The transition to sustainable e-fulfilment

With a project called 'Active Green', Active Ants is working on the transition to sustainable e-fulfilment. Want to know how? Read it here!

The demand for e-fulfilment has been increasing for years. More and more web shops are realising how easy and valuable it can be to outsource their e-commerce fulfilment to a 3PL fulfilment partner. At Active Ants, we are of course pleased about this, but it also creates new challenges. One of these challenges is that the e-fulfilment footprint is becoming increasingly large in comparison to the total footprint that we, as humans, leave behind.

We at Active Ants know that we are not yet the greenest company, or CO2 neutral for that matter, but we are aware that our footprint must be reduced. We have already implemented green solutions into our e-fulfilment centers and will continue to improve and evolve our processes to further reduce our footprint. We call this ‘Active Green’ and we work very hard, together with our business partners, to make our business greener. Not only in quality and innovation, but also in this category we try to be an example and pioneer for the fulfilment industry.

Our e-fulfilment process

As a fulfilment company, we like to contribute to a greener and more sustainable society. With the implementation of our AutoStore in 2015 for example. It has made the e-fulfilment process within Active Ants much more efficient, effective and sustainable:

  • Our AutoStore stores products more effectively and requires 600% less space than a traditional warehouse.
  • This AutoStore uses a minimal amount of power because the robots, operating on the AutoStore’s grid, are sustainable. 10 robots use as much energy as one small vacuum cleaner.
  • The AutoStore robots themselves know when to charge and when they are full, so they never consume too much energy.

Smart innovations e-fulfilment center

Besides the AutoStore, we have developed other smart innovations over the years that are currently operational in our e-fulfilment center in Roosendaal. These machines, and ways of working, also contribute to reducing our footprint and achieving a more efficient and higher quality E-fulfilment service:

  • Our automated packing machines cut and fold the shipping boxes to the size of the products. As a result, we do not need any protective filler material and do not produce unnecessary waste.
  • We reduce the amount of excess air in packages with 40% by using these automated packing machines.
  • The shipping label is printed on the lid. As a result, we no longer need to print labels, which in time saves 8 million labels per year.
  • We are, together with our business partners, making the transition to digital packing slips. In time, this will also save us 8 million A4 packing slips.
  • Our process is bio-certified by Skal, an independent organization that verifies if a company's organic production, processing or trading complies with the organic EU regulation. The certification means that we can offer organic storage, processing and transport for organic products.

It does not stop with just making the e-fulfilment process more sustainable. We are working hard, in and around our e-fulfilment centers, to become more sustainable.

In and around our e-fulfilment centers.

  • LED lighting has been installed in all our 3PL fulfilment centers.
  • For the energy supply of our 20,000 m2 warehouse in Roosendaal, we use green energy. This energy is generated by 14,000 solar panels installed on the roof of our site.
  • 30% of our vehicle fleet is electric.

Our packaging

We minimize packaging materials and pack as little air as possible. But to be able to ship the web shop items, they still need packaging. In order to make this aspect greener within our process, we have taken these measures:

  • The cardboard for our packaging is FSC certified.
  • If filling material is needed by the wish of our business partner, we use recyclable paper or plastic.

During the last mile

The delivery of the product takes up a significant proportion of the footprint within the whole e-fulfilment process. There is still a lot of progress to be made in making this part of the process more sustainable. 30% of our own fleet is already electric, but we want to do more:

  • We offer green delivery through our bicycle courier partners in the Netherlands, with hopefully more countries to come in the future.
  • Packing 40% less air also means that more packages fit in the delivery trucks. As a result, fewer trucks, cars or vans are needed for the same number of packages.

Together on the road to a completely green e-fulfilment process?

Will you help us become 'greener' and more sustainable, or would you like to benefit from our current solutions? Then get in touch with us today and use our knowledge to your advantage! You can also download our 'Active Green Leaflet', to read through all our sustainable fulfilment solutions again at your convenience.