How Wireless Charging Helps Warehouse Operators Meet ESG Goals
Today, warehouse operators are not only focused on improving their bottom line but also on meeting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. The concept of ESG goals dates back to a 2004 report from the United Nations titled Who Cares Wins, which outlined principles for responsible businesses and encouraged all business stakeholders to embrace ESG long-term. As goals and not financial metrics, ESG is essentially a framework to promote social, environmental, and corporate responsibility. ESG is meant to hold companies accountable to implementing systems and processes that do things like reduce their carbon footprint and ensure equitable treatment of employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
ESG programs also promote responsible corporate management and business strategies that ensure long-term success and sustainability of businesses. In fact, McKinsey found that ESG creates real business value across several metrics like greater topline growth and reduced costs. And with consumers expecting corporations to do more to reduce their carbon footprint, there’s no doubt that ESG is here to stay.
While there are some more obvious strategies for businesses to improve their environmental, social, and corporate impact, one significant technological advancement that can assist any business operating their own warehouses, distribution centers, or wholesale retail centers in achieving their ESG goals is wireless charging for material handling equipment. In this blog post, we will explore 10 ways wireless charging helps warehouse operators meet their ESG goals.
1. Transitioning to Clean Energy
Wireless charging uses electricity to power vehicles and equipment, reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional fossil fuel-powered equipment. This aligns with the environmental aspect of ESG goals.
2. Reducing Carbon Emissions
As a part of their ESG initiatives, warehouse operators aim to minimize carbon emissions. Wireless charging reduces carbon emissions in multiple ways. Wireless charging accelerates electrification of warehouses. Electric vehicles, including electric material handling equipment like forklifts and pallet jacks, produce zero tailpipe emissions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution within the warehouse environment. In addition, wireless charging reduces what are known as Scope 3 emissions. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions that result from a business’ activities, such as emissions from materials and equipment needed to run a business. Wireless charging reduces Scope 3 emissions by making it possible for warehouse operators to use up to 50% less equipment to do the same amount of work and improving the efficiency of the equipment they do need. With wireless charging, fewer vehicles are needed to move goods, vehicles can have smaller batteries that last longer, and the charges themselves are all-solid-state, with no moving parts to wear out, fray, and break. The chargers last longer and the equipment they power lasts longer, which reduces Scope 3 emissions and improves an organization’s environmental impact.
3. Reducing Noise
Sustainability isn't just about reducing emissions; it also encompasses the impact of businesses on the local community and workforce. Traditional forklifts with internal combustion engines can be noisy, creating discomfort for workers and causing noise pollution. Electric material handling equipment powered by wireless charging is significantly quieter, contributing to a more pleasant work environment and improved social responsibility.
4. Enhancing Operational Efficiency
By eliminating the downtime associated with manual plug-in charging and the need for battery swapping, wireless charging enhances the operational efficiency of a warehouse. This efficiency boost allows for more streamlined operations, reducing labor and resource waste, and aligning with ESG goals for resource optimization.
5. Reducing Maintenance
Traditional forklifts with internal combustion engines require more maintenance, which generates additional waste and environmental impact. Electric equipment using wireless charging systems experiences less wear and tear, reducing maintenance needs and overall environmental footprint. In addition, wireless chargers have no moving parts to wear out and break. Because of this, wireless charging not only improves battery and vehicle lifetime, limiting maintenance of critical material handling equipment, but it also requires no regular maintenance itself.
6. Improving Worker Health and Safety
ESG goals extend to social responsibility, which includes worker health and safety. Electric material handling equipment powered by wireless charging is not only more environmentally friendly, but also safer for workers. Electric vehicles produce zero emissions, reducing exposure to harmful pollutants and improving indoor air quality, which is a crucial factor in supporting workforce health. In addition, traditional plug-in charging can create safety hazards for employees. Plug-in charging is labor intensive. Plugs can be difficult-to-use and require force to connect charging cables to batteries. For organizations that use battery swapping to replace bead batteries in trucks with fully charged batteries, employees can be subjected to battery acid spills, dropped batteries, and other charging-related injuries. Lastly, plug-in chargers require regular maintenance and can easily wear out and break, leading to safety incidents when chargers aren’t inspected before each use or maintained consistently. Wireless charging eliminates these challenges as chargers are all-solid-state and work automatically without human intervention. Vehicles need to simply pull up and park within the designated parking area, and the charger will automatically detect and start charging it.
7. Generating Significant Cost Savings
Wireless charging reduces total cost of fleet ownership by up to 50% by reducing the number of vehicles and batteries needed to accomplish work, by extending battery and equipment lifetime, and by eliminating charging labor. In addition, wireless charging reduces energy costs by distributing charging throughout facilities and shifts. With wireless charging, warehouses can achieve peak shaving, which means they both avoid charging trucks when demand is high and avoid charging vehicles at the same time. This ensures their utility rates are set when electricity costs less and they pay less for electricity. Lastly, because wireless charging enables full electrification, organizations save on fuel costs in addition to saving on electricity, maintenance, and equipment costs. These long-term cost savings positively impact a company's financial sustainability, a core component of ESG.
8. Enhancing Employee Satisfaction
A safer, cleaner, and more efficient work environment often leads to higher employee satisfaction and retention, contributing to the social component of ESG.
9. Meeting Stakeholder Expectations
Customers, investors, and other stakeholders increasingly expect companies to adopt sustainable practices and technologies. Wireless charging demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and may attract stakeholders who prioritize ESG criteria. In fact, many employees and customers now cite environmental impact and how they treat their employees as main reasons why they chose to work with, or not work with, certain organizations.
10. Ensuring Business Sustainability
Wireless charging systems are designed for long-term sustainability, aligning with the ESG principle of long-term planning and responsible resource management. Wireless charging systems like Resonant Link’s 19.2 kW, 400 A wireless lift truck charger are reliable and they also improve the reliability of warehouse operations. This not only increases the sustainability of the business, but it also maximizes the ROI of other investments, whether in people or equipment. Because wireless charging is automated and works with or without people, it enables predictable workflows and right-sized fleets. Businesses no longer need to purchase and store backup equipment for when operators forget to plug vehicles in to charge them or dead batteries need to be swapped with charged ones. Businesses can procure only the vehicles and batteries they need to run their operations, ensuring that their technology and equipment investments yield greater returns over time. As importantly, business operations run continuously and predictably, so warehouse operators know what to expect and organizations benefit from responsible growth.
Meeting ESG goals is a priority for many organizations, and wireless charging for material handling equipment is a valuable tool in achieving ESG objectives in warehousing. By embracing wireless charging, warehouse operators can reduce emissions, create a cleaner and safer working environment, optimize operational efficiency, and support long-term sustainability. As ESG goals continue to drive responsible business practices, wireless charging is a clear example of how technology can help operators contribute to a more sustainable and responsible future. To discuss installing wireless charging in your facility, contact us today.