Special Issue "Environmentally Sustainable Third Party Logistics"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Edward Sweeney
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Aston Logistics & Systems Institute, Aston University, UK
Interests: supply chain design; logistics technologies; sustainable supply chain management
Prof. Dr. Maria Huge-Brodin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management and Engineering (IEI), Linkoping University, Sweden
Interests: environmental sustainability in supply chains; transport management and technology; strategies for sustainable logistics
Dr. Pietro Evangelista
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development (IRISS), National Research Council (CNR), Naples, Italy
Interests: environmental sustainability in the third party logistics industry; ICT and technology innovation in logistics and SCM; knowledge management in logistics and supply chain
Dr. Witold Bahr
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Aston Logistics & Systems Institute, Aston University, UK
Interests: integration-enabling technologies in supply chain and logistics; sustainable supply chain management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Logistics and supply chain activities are vital in the globally connected and technologically advanced business landscape. All products reach the final consumer through often complex networks of firms that typically comprise manufacturers, retailers and other actors. Third party logistics play a pivotal and dynamic role in these networks. As well as satisfying increasingly discerning customers in an economically efficient manner, contemporary logistics and supply chain management (LSCM) places a strong emphasis on the need for the development and implementation of more sustainable business models.

The anthropogenic impact of supply chain and logistics activities on the natural environment is now well documented. This includes, but is not limited to, transportation activities. In the third-party logistics service sector, environmental concerns have become particularly pressing as a result of government regulatory pressures, the scarcity of critical energy resources and sustained growth in demand for transportation and other logistics services.

In this context, recent years have seen a sharpening of the focus on the need to take action with a view to meeting challenging national and international targets in relation to greenhouse gas emissions. This involves the incorporation of environmental objectives into the strategic thinking of firms—including third party logistics providers (3PLs)—and the attendant implementation of plans that focus on the simultaneous achievement of economic and environmental sustainability. Further, exacting targets cannot be realistically achieved by single firms acting in isolation: there is a need for increased supply chain collaboration and the role of 3PLs is key in this regard.

This special issue on environmentally sustainable third-party logistics is timely. It will showcase the work of leading researchers from a variety of geographical settings, as well as from supply chains than span a range of different industrial sectors and products. It has a particular focus on methodological innovation. This is critical if fresh insights are to be developed into our understanding of the myriad complex phenomena that contribute to the design, planning and execution of truly sustainable third-party logistics operations. Papers adopting combined qualitative and quantitative methodologies, as well as more conceptual and theoretical papers, are particularly welcome.

Papers selected for this Special Issue will be subject to rigorous peer review with the aim of wide dissemination of new insights in a timely manner. Ultimately, this will contribute to policy development at national, regional and international levels, as well as to strategy formulation at supply chain and firm levels. It will also contribute to the debate amongst scholars as we seek to further develop a deeper understanding of the factors under investigation.

Prof. Dr. Edward Sweeney
Prof. Dr. Maria Huge-Brodin
Dr. Pietro Evangelista
Dr. Witold Bahr
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Third party logistics
  • Environment
  • Sustainable
  • Transport
  • Supply chains
  • Green logistics
  • Decarbonizing distribution
  • Green logistics technology
  • Customer-3PL green collaboration

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Environmentally Sustainable Logistics Performance Management Process Integration between Buyers and 3PLs
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3061; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113061 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
To ensure environmentally sustainable logistics, organizations need to have an environmentally sustainable logistics performance management (ESLPM) process. In line with supply chain management (SCM) literature, there is a desire towards integrating processes with supply chain partners to increase performance. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
To ensure environmentally sustainable logistics, organizations need to have an environmentally sustainable logistics performance management (ESLPM) process. In line with supply chain management (SCM) literature, there is a desire towards integrating processes with supply chain partners to increase performance. The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework for ESLPM process integration and to illustrate this framework in practice between buyers and third-party logistics (3PLs) providers. The method used is multiple case studies of three dyads of 3PLs and buyers from the public and private sector. Data were collected through 10 semi-structured interviews. Our major result is a proposed framework with criteria for the degree of ESLPM process integration between buyers and 3PLs. It includes six activities: Selecting environmentally sustainable logistics performance (ESLP) variables, defining ESLP metrics, setting ESLP targets, measuring ESLP metrics, ESLPM feedback, and analyzing ESLP outcomes and processes. It considers suggested operationalization of each activity and the corresponding degree of integration. The framework can provide guidelines for practitioners in identifying current degree of process integration. It may also support decisions regarding actions needed to advance to a higher degree. This framework is the first to address logistics performance management process integration including environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Sustainable Third Party Logistics)
Open AccessArticle
Challenges Addressed by Swedish Third-Party Logistics Providers Conducting Sustainable Logistics Business Cases
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2654; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092654 - 09 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The sustainable logistics business case (SLBC) provides underlying argumentation to convince decision makers to approve initiatives within sustainable logistics. Little knowledge exists on how companies conduct SLBCs or the challenges that need to be addressed. The purpose of this paper is to explore [...] Read more.
The sustainable logistics business case (SLBC) provides underlying argumentation to convince decision makers to approve initiatives within sustainable logistics. Little knowledge exists on how companies conduct SLBCs or the challenges that need to be addressed. The purpose of this paper is to explore how companies conduct SLBCs, to increase the understanding of how perceived challenges can be addressed. Potential challenges were identified in literature on business cases models in general and sustainable logistics business cases. As third-party logistics providers (3PL) are big contributors to emissions and often are responsible for designing logistics setups, they were focused in the empirical study. How SLBC were conducted was investigated based on interviews with managers responsible for conducting SLBCs and the responses triangulated with information derived from actual business cases. Despite the careful selection of 3PLs well ahead within the area, few challenges were perceived by the studied companies. This does not imply that challenges do not exist but can rather be described as a consequence of their pragmatic and inward-looking perspective. Examples of how to address challenges are provided. The compiled list of SLBC challenges provides an overview that was missing in literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Sustainable Third Party Logistics)
Open AccessArticle
Environmental Sustainability in the Follow-Up and Evaluation Stage of Logistics Services Purchasing: Perspectives from UK Shippers and 3PLs
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2460; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092460 - 26 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The purpose of the research described in this paper is to investigate the role played by the green agenda and sustainability in the follow-up and evaluation stage of the purchasing of logistics services. This stage is relatively under-explored in the extant academic literature. [...] Read more.
The purpose of the research described in this paper is to investigate the role played by the green agenda and sustainability in the follow-up and evaluation stage of the purchasing of logistics services. This stage is relatively under-explored in the extant academic literature. However, there is some evidence of a divergence between the perspectives of shippers and forwarders in this area. In this context, therefore, two carefully selected groups of UK-based supply chain management professionals—from shippers (i.e., manufacturers and retailers) and third-party logistics (3PLs)—were investigated using semi-structured interviews. The interviews were based on a data collection guide informed by the authors’ three overall research objectives. Data from the interviews were analysed using a combination of content analysis and grounded analysis. The findings suggest that, while shippers and 3PLs recognise a positive link between cost savings and the development of green initiatives, there is considerable room for improvement in this area in order to reorient the focus of the follow-up and evaluation stage from price and service levels towards sustainability. The authors’ exploratory research leads to the identification of a number of potentially fruitful areas for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Sustainable Third Party Logistics)
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Open AccessArticle
An Integrated Analytic Hierarchy Process—Slack Based Measure-Data Envelopment Analysis Model for Evaluating the Efficiency of Logistics Service Providers Considering Undesirable Performance Criteria
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2330; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082330 - 18 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sustainable concerns are reputed to be of the utmost priority among governments. Consequently, they have become more and more of a concern among supply chain partners. Logistics service providers (LPs), as significant contributors to supply chain success but also one of the greatest [...] Read more.
Sustainable concerns are reputed to be of the utmost priority among governments. Consequently, they have become more and more of a concern among supply chain partners. Logistics service providers (LPs), as significant contributors to supply chain success but also one of the greatest generator of emissions, play a significant role in reducing the negative environmental impact. Thus, the performance evaluations of LPs should necessarily involve such a measure which, firstly, represents a balance between all three pillars of sustainability and, secondly, consider the desirable and undesirable performance criteria. This paper proposes an integrated analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and slack-based measure (SBM) data envelopment analysis (DEA) model, based on the assumption of a variable return to scale (VRS). An AHP pairwise comparison enables selecting the most influential input/output variables. Output-oriented SBM DEA provides simultaneously evaluation of both the undesirable and desirable outputs. The proposed model was tested on a numerical example of 18 LPs. The comparison of output Charnes, Cooper and Rhodes (CCR) and SBM DEA models resulted in a higher number of inefficient LPs when the SBM DEA model was applied. Moreover, efficiency scores of inefficient LPs were lower in SBM DEA model. The proposed model is fair to those LPs that are environmentally friendly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Sustainable Third Party Logistics)
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Logistics Innovation in China: The Lens of Chinese Daoism
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020545 - 21 Jan 2019
Abstract
Innovation is vital for the logistics industry. This paper develops a Daoism-based conceptual model for logistics innovation in China. It identifies research gaps in this area and provides directions for future research. Following a content-based literature review methodology, 45 studies were selected. We [...] Read more.
Innovation is vital for the logistics industry. This paper develops a Daoism-based conceptual model for logistics innovation in China. It identifies research gaps in this area and provides directions for future research. Following a content-based literature review methodology, 45 studies were selected. We identified five research themes: interpretation of logistics innovation; Chinese institutional environment for logistics innovation; innovation generation; innovation adoption; and innovation capability. We integrate the process view and outcome view of logistics innovation and propose that logistics capability, as an innovation outcome, is reflected and measured by innovation generation and adoption. This study is probably one of the first conceptual development papers on logistics innovation in China, providing a model for innovation within this context. It provides new avenues of research in this emerging, albeit important, area of research. Our conceptual framework utilizes Chinese Daoism philosophical thinking to provide a new lens for logistics innovation that is sensitive to the cultural environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Sustainable Third Party Logistics)
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