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Environmental alignment between logistics service providers and shippers – a supply chain perspective

Maria Huge-Brodin ( Linkopings Universitet , Linkoping, Sweden)
Edward Sweeney ( Engineering Systems and Management Group , Aston University , Birmingham, UK)
Pietro Evangelista ( Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development - IRISS-CNR , Naples, Italy)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 20 August 2020

Issue publication date: 3 September 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

Various suggested paths for greening logistics and supply chains often address the specific perspectives of single supply chain actors. Drawing on stakeholder theory, the purpose of this paper is to develop a deeper understanding of the alignment between logistics service providers (LSPs) and shippers in the context of adopting more environmentally sustainable logistics practices.

Design/methodology/approach

With a case study approach, a dual perspective is taken in which both LSPs and shippers were researched. The cases comprise eight LSPs and six shipper companies in Sweden, Italy and Ireland. Information was first analysed in relation to levels of environmental awareness, customer requirements and provider offerings and critical success factors (CSFs) and inhibitors. In a second step, the findings were analysed using stakeholder theory.

Findings

LSPs demonstrate higher ambition levels and more concrete offerings compared to shippers' requirements for green logistics services. Paradoxically, customers are an important CSF and also an inhibitor for both LSPs and shippers. Both LSPs and shippers perceive financial factors and senior management priorities as important CSFs. The application of stakeholder theory helps to illuminate the importance of the many secondary stakeholders vs that of one or a relatively small number of primary stakeholders.

Originality/value

The three-dimensional analysis of environmental alignment between LSPs and shippers reinforces existing knowledge and provides new insights. A novel use of stakeholder theory in a supply chain context underlines its usefulness in research of this kind.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive and challenging comments. They also wish to thank the Editor for the wise advise offered throughout the review process.

Citation

Huge-Brodin, M., Sweeney, E. and Evangelista, P. (2020), "Environmental alignment between logistics service providers and shippers – a supply chain perspective", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 575-605. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-04-2019-0101

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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