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WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACTS OF TRANSPORTATION? WE ASKED AN EXPERT.

WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACTS OF TRANSPORTATION? WE ASKED AN EXPERT.

 

At SPUD, we have always made a conscious effort to evaluate the sustainability of our food system beyond just looking at how our food is grown. We consider everything from packaging and fair trade, to transportation when we are sourcing products for our customers.

This week, we wanted to talk about why responsible transportation is important so we reached out to an expert in the field to share their insight. Maybe you have met this team before? Read below to find out!

 

Who is Shift Delivery and what is your relationship to SPUD?

 

“[We are] a worker owned co-op using business as a force for change. We operate primarily in the City of Vancouver with a fleet of electric assist cargo tricycles and provide delivery services to a range of business clients. When Shift Delivery launched in 2011, SPUD signed up without hesitation, seeing both the operational and environmental benefits. Eight years later our partnership has grown and we now deliver to over 150 SPUD customers using cargo tricycles, all year round.”

 

 

How big of an impact does transportation have on the environment?

 

“A considerable impact! On-road transportation contributes to over 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions, while buildings and other sources contribute the rest. When thinking about transportation it’s easy to focus on moving vehicles and forget about the supporting roadways, bridges and parking space. All this infrastructure takes up room in our neighborhoods and can unfortunately lead to the removal of places we love, such as forests, open outdoor space and land for housing.”

 

3. Is getting your groceries delivered more or less environmentally friendly than if we were to all go to a store independently?

 

“It depends, if there’s a grocery store in your neighborhood that you can walk or bike to then that’s a great option. But, if you live in an area where everyone drives to the grocery store, then bundled grocery delivery can be more environmentally friendly.”

Research shows that online grocery delivery that is routed by postal code has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by transportation by as much as 93%, compared to customers’ driving to the grocery store individually.

 

What else can we as individuals do to lower our environmental impact related to transportation?

 

“Try thinking about this in two ways. First, how do you and your family move around from place to place? Second, how do you send and receive deliveries?

Consider freeing yourself from the personal automobile. Owning a car, truck or van means that you are more likely to use it for travel that could be done on foot, bicycle, public transit, carpooling, push scooter, electric skateboard, rollerblading and the list goes on. Maybe not all these options are for you or maybe you’ve found a more exciting way to get around, but all we’re trying to demonstrate is that the automobile doesn’t need to be your first choice.”

 

Why else is responsible transportation important, other than from an environmental impact perspective?

 

“When goods are moved responsibly we feel it in the form of cleaner air and more livable neighbourhoods. Vans that bundle deliveries which emit less pollutants or cargo cycles that emit less noise and provide active jobs are wonderful examples of this. It’s a choice that businesses can make and it benefits our lives.

Imagine yourself walking down a street that has narrow sidewalks, no public seating and a wide road for cars and trucks. You might feel uncomfortable or even go so far to avoid this street. Now imagine walking on a different street with wider sidewalks, more crosswalks and places to sit and rest. One street likely feels more welcoming than the other and there’s a good chance you’ll spend more time in communities where responsible transportation is the norm.”

 

Is there anything else you would like our customers to know?

 

“Being a tricycle-based business is a ton of fun and we hope more businesses will make the switch to cargo bikes and trikes soon. We do deliveries all year round in the sun, rain and snow. If you’re in the city and see a Shift Delivery tricycle, give us a wave, we’d love to say hello to you.”

 

Michelle Austin

Michelle is SPUD's Marketing and Sustainability Coordinator. She believes a sustainable food system is the key to creating a environmentally-friendly and just world. You can often find her in the mountains biking, hiking or skiing.

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