Smart data is key to sustainability reporting says Lionel van der Walt

Lionel van der Walt, Chief Growth Officer, Raft, speaking on ‘Sustainability Challenges in the Growing Air Cargo Industry’ panel at AirCargo 2023.

Van der Walt, Chief Growth Officer of digital freight forwarding platform Raft, told delegates at yesterday’s AfA AirCargo 2023 event that technology will drive successful carbon accounting

Forwarders should prepare for new sustainability reporting regulations by using digital solutions, according to Lionel van der Walt, Chief Growth Officer of intelligent freight operating system Raft.

He told delegates at the Airforwarders Association’s (AfA) AirCargo Conference in Nashville, USA, yesterday (13th February 2023) that forwarders needed to focus on finding an emissions reporting method to suit their business and that of their customers as soon as possible.

“The rapidly changing legislation landscape, coupled with growing demands from shippers and consumers across the globe, means that companies of all sizes in the supply chain must focus on sustainability, and it is the responsible thing to do,” said van der Walt.

The European Commission, for example, started the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) initiative on the 21st of April 2021, with companies that fall into scope with the directive having to apply the rules for the first time in the 2024 financial year, for reports published in 2025.

This will be of a significant impact for shippers who will, in turn, require more detailed emissions data from their forwarders.

“Raft is focused on serving freight forwarders by way of automating operational painpoints, which is why we are addressing emissions reporting for them,” said van der Walt.

“We have developed a digital solution working with partners such as Pledge, which is scalable and will ensure forwarders are both compliant and able to support their customers to make more carbon-efficient supply chain decisions.”

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Van der Walt was speaking on the ‘Sustainability Challenges in the Growing Air Cargo Industry’ panel at AirCargo 2023, and was joined by Jennifer Frigger-Latham, AfA Board Member and Vice-President Sales and Marketing, and owner, EMO Trans Inc., which has partnered with Raft for its emissions reporting compliance.

“As a long time Board Of Director member of the AfA, I am excited to continue the sustainability discussion after having founded the Sustainability Committee ahead of our last conference,” said Frigger-Latham.

“As this conversation becomes an endemic part of what it is to manage supply chains, I am equally excited on the private sector side to be partnering with Raft to offer our customers these essential calculations.”

Raft is an intelligent freight operating system using cutting-edge technologies to automate and optimize freight forwarder operations across the entire lifecycle of a shipment, including areas such as Accounts Payable, Pre-Alerts, Customs, and Emissions Tracking.

“There is an increasingly large demand for very clear and specific Environmental Social Governance information per shipment,” said Andy Richardson, Global Chief Information Officer, EMO Trans inc.

“Specifically, this means supplying detailed data on carbon emissions for all modes and routes.

“In order to do this automatically and in real time, we partnered with Raft so that we can leverage the complex integrations they have already built that can access data from a number of different systems.

“Now, it’s ‘business as usual’ for us to automatically provide the transparency our customers need.”

Van der Walt welcomed queries from any forwarders that needed advice on how best to tackle upcoming emissions compliance requirements and made it clear they didn’t need to be Raft customers to benefit from its expertise.

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Devender was born in the year when the Beatles Group was formed. He holds two master’s degrees in English Literature and Public Administration. He also has an Honors degree in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. He was closely associated with the Indian State Transport Undertakings and Ministry of Transport in his role as Corporate Communications and PR specialist for over two decades handling domestic and international organizations. He ventured into business forming his own Media House, Profiles Media Network Private Limited which is now a twenty years old company. Excelling as an editor, Marketing, PR, Anchor, and Advertising specialist, he is now expertly navigating the world of social media. A widely traveled professional internationally, Devender has a deep understanding of the Air Cargo, Cargo Business, Cargo Airports, Freighters and Cargo Industry at large.