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Emissions from international transport in global supply chains

Amulya Gurtu (Austin E. Cofrin School of Business, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA)
Cory Searcy (Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
M.Y. Jaber (Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 16 January 2017




This paper aims to highlight the importance and need to include carbon emissions from international transport in the sourcing decisions of corporate organizations and the calculation of national emissions inventories (NEIs).


The paper proposes a method of attributing emissions from international transportation in global supply chains and calculating their impact on the economic sustainability of corporate organizations through a carbon price.


An application of the original model developed in this paper showed that international transport emissions can have an important effect on NEIs. An example of the imports of manufactured items from China and Germany to the USA showed a 3 per cent increase in emissions from manufacturing activities in the USA.

Research limitations/implications

Introducing carbon pricing on international transport emissions is expected to motivate corporate leaders to include emissions from international transport as a factor in their sourcing decisions.

Practical implications

Inclusion of international transport emissions along with the imposition of a carbon tax are designed to act as disincentives to generating emissions from supply chain activities. It is argued that the implementation of the model may provide long-term benefits associated with reduced emissions and a level playing field to organizations which use efficient technologies in manufacturing.

Social implications

It is recognized that the implementation of a carbon tax on international transport emissions may face resistance from several stakeholders, including governments of exporting countries, corporations and customers, due to an increase in cost.


This paper provides an original method to include emissions from international transport in supply chain decisions.



A. Gurtu thanks the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. C. Searcy thanks the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). M.Y. Jaber thanks the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)-Canadian Environmental Issues for supporting his research.


Gurtu, A., Searcy, C. and Jaber, M.Y. (2017), "Emissions from international transport in global supply chains", Management Research Review, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 53-74.



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