Expanding knowledge on environmental impacts of transport processes for more sustainable supply chain decisions: A case study using life cycle assessment

With this study, the authors highlight the necessity to improve the environmental performance in supply chains and freight transportation systems to respond to the unbroken trend of increasing environmental impacts of transport. Based on a literature review, the authors first identify 19 environmentally relevant decision criteria which determine transport processes, such as delivery times, delivery frequency, or mode choice. The authors group these criteria depending on the time horizon and their influenceability by a company decision-maker and further apply them to empirically enquire in a life cycle assessment case study about the relationship between freight transport processes and the related environmental impacts. The case example of a resource intense and heavy-weight product represents a typical product system with long transport distances and economic as well as environmental relevance. By means of some robustness tests the authors further show how some criteria which are controllable and influenceable in the short and medium term trigger the indicator results. Finally, the authors develop a decision tree approach to prioritize actions and derive environmental transport strategies depending on the time horizon and the influenceability of the decision criteria. While the decision tree is from a manufacturing company’s perspective, it has relevance also for other actors along the supply chain and in politics. With this literature review, case study, and decision-tree approach the authors contribute to transportation research and practice and thereby aim to incentivize decision-makers to systematically explore the sources of environmental impacts and continuously improve the environmental performance of freight activity.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01671711
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 29 2018 11:11AM