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A review of the environmental implications of B2C e-commerce: a logistics perspective

Riccardo Mangiaracina (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Gino Marchet (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Sara Perotti (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Angela Tumino (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 6 July 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

Given the importance of logistics operations in business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce and growing interest in the related environmental effects, the purpose of this paper is to offer an up-to-date literature review on the topic of B2C e-commerce environmental sustainability, specifically from a logistics perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis focussed on a set of 56 papers published from 2001 to 2014 in 38 peer-reviewed international journals. The papers were analyzed and categorized according to the main features of the paper, the research method(s) adopted and the themes tackled.

Findings

There is a growing interest in sustainability issues. In the last 14 years, the focus has progressively shifted from the mere identification of the wide-ranging environmental effects of e-commerce to the need for a quantitative evaluation of their impact, although much remains to be done in this regard. Some industries, such as books and grocery, have largely been addressed, however, promising sectors in the e-commerce field, such as clothing and consumer electronics, have only been considered to a certain degree. Moreover, despite the emerging role of multichannel strategies, the environmental implications of the related logistics activities have not yet been studied in detail.

Originality/value

B2C e-commerce has grown in popularity, and its environmental implications are currently of key interest. This paper contributes to the understanding of the existing body of knowledge on this topic, presenting an up-to-date classification of articles and highlighting themes for further research activities. From a managerial perspective, this paper helps supply chain managers develop a clear understanding of both the logistics areas with the most impact on environmental sustainability and the KPIs used to quantify the environmental implications of e-commerce logistics operations comprehensively and effectively.

Keywords

Citation

Mangiaracina, R., Marchet, G., Perotti, S. and Tumino, A. (2015), "A review of the environmental implications of B2C e-commerce: a logistics perspective", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 45 No. 6, pp. 565-591. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-06-2014-0133

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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