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Reducing transportation greenhouse gas emissions with collaborative distribution: A case study

Nicolas Danloup (LGI2A, University of Artois, Bethune, France)
Vahid Mirzabeiki (Cranfield School of Management, Bedford, UK)
Hamid Allaoui (LGI2A, University of Artois, Béthune, France)
Gilles Goncalves (LGI2A, University of Artois, Béthune, France)
Denyse Julien (Cranfield School of Management, Bedford, UK)
Carlos Mena (Cranfield School of Management, Bedford, UK)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 19 October 2015




The purpose of this paper is to study the potential for improving sustainability performance in food supply networks by implementing collaborative distribution. Food supply chains generate a significant portion of CO2 emissions, because of the large volume of food transportation and the large number and frequency of trips made to deliver food products to retail stores, making it available to the customers. Collaboration of partners in food supply chains will lead to reducing CO2 emissions.


Such collaboration could be in the form of sharing trucks by retailers, to increase the fill rate of the vehicles and to reduce their empty running. A case study of the logistics network of a British company, distributing fruits and vegetables, is carried out. The company sends the products from a distribution centre to 27 retailers’ warehouses of 3 different companies in the UK. A simulation study is carried out to measure the reduced traveled distance for delivery of the products and the reduced amount of CO2 emissions across two different scenarios, as a result of implementing collaborative distribution.


With this approach, the total CO2 emissions are able to be reduced by at least 26 per cent.


The theoretical contribution of the paper is important both for showing the role of simulation and collaborative distribution for developing the green supply chain solutions management and their indicating to the applications to logistics and product delivery.



The work presented for this paper comes from SCALE project sponsored by Interreg IVB North-West Europe. Project SCALE aims to increase NWE’s economic competitiveness and improve the environmental sustainability of food and drink supply chain logistics in the context of rising food demands, increasing energy prices and the need to reduce environmentally damaging emissions. We also acknowledge Company A for providing its data to make this case study feasible.


Danloup, N., Mirzabeiki, V., Allaoui, H., Goncalves, G., Julien, D. and Mena, C. (2015), "Reducing transportation greenhouse gas emissions with collaborative distribution: A case study", Management Research Review, Vol. 38 No. 10, pp. 1049-1067.



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