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Tax aligned global supply chains: Environmental impact illustrations, legal reflections and crossfunctional flow charts

Oskar Henkow (Department of Business Law, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Andreas Norrman (Department of Industrial Management and Logistics, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 11 October 2011




Both logisticians and tax lawyers design global supply chains – but based on different logics. If they do not align each other's perspectives, problems might occur in different areas. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the impact the tax system could have on supply chain design, reflect (from both perspectives) on how the rules function, and propose a common communication platform for supply chain issues and tax issues.


This interdisciplinary research is based on a systems approach, combining logistics system descriptions (based on interviews, workshops and company data) with legal analysis. Main principles of the tax system were applied to the system descriptions (the principle approach).


Logistics and tax systems interact. Issues of implementing drop shipment in different global contexts are shown. One issue is cross‐border rerouting leading to unnecessary environmental impact. Hence interaction between the domains should be improved before starting to optimize global logistics or tax structures. A combined platform for mapping flow charts jointly is proposed.

Practical implications

Practitioners from both domains acquire increased understanding of each other's perspectives and a joint tool for flow mapping, combining facts both sides need in their overall analysis. Logisticians will gain better insight into general fiscal principles.

Social implications

Societal inefficiencies due to extra cross‐border transports instead of drop shipments were the result when the fiscal rules were applied in reality in certain contexts. This was probably not desired from the policy makers' perspective, so it might lead to policy makers to better try to understand the combined impact of the domains.


The paper usefully combines legal and logistics approaches.



Henkow, O. and Norrman, A. (2011), "Tax aligned global supply chains: Environmental impact illustrations, legal reflections and crossfunctional flow charts", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 41 No. 9, pp. 878-895.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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