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Barriers to low-carbon warehousing and the link to carbon abatement: A case from emerging Asia

Shao Hung Goh (School of Business, Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 7 August 2019

Issue publication date: 7 August 2019




Warehouses are large emitters of greenhouse gases and their impact on climate change is under increasing focus. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the barriers that inhibit the adoption of low-carbon warehousing in Asia-Pacific and their links to carbon abatement performance.


An exploratory conceptual model was first developed from a literature review of the general barriers to sustainable supply chain practices and hence potentially in low-carbon warehousing. A large contract logistics services provider in the Asia-Pacific served as the subject of a case study. The perceived barriers to low-carbon warehousing were derived from an internal survey of respondents from the case company and regressed against carbon abatement outcomes at that organization’s operations across the region.


Results show that the case company reduced carbon emissions by 36 percent on a revenue-normalized basis between 2008 and 2014, but with relatively lower success in emerging markets vs mature markets. An Elastic Net regression analysis confirms that technology and government-related factors are the most important barriers in the case company’s efforts to “decarbonize” its local warehousing operations. However, results suggest that the customer-related barrier, which is highly correlated with the government barrier, is in part driven by the latter.

Research limitations/implications

This case study is based on a single multinational company in Asia-Pacific, but nonetheless serves as an impetus for more cross-sectional studies to form an industry-wide view.


An extended stewardship framework based on the natural resource-based view has been proposed, in which logistics services providers take on a proactive boundary-spanning role to lower the external barriers to low-carbon warehousing.



The author would like to express gratitude to the editor and three anonymous referees for their constructive feedback and suggestions, which have greatly helped in improving the quality of this paper.


Goh, S.H. (2019), "Barriers to low-carbon warehousing and the link to carbon abatement: A case from emerging Asia", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 49 No. 6, pp. 679-704.



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