A well-known concept, both in practice and in literature is the logistics market. This market is a place where shippers’ demand for logistics services meets Logistics Service Providers’ (LSPs’) supply of such services. Although this market has been given much attention in previous research, focus has been on shippers, while the LSP perspective has to a large extent been neglected. Several logistics related trends indicate that there is an increasing need for strong relationships between LSPs and supply chains, and one such trend is the “greening” of companies and supply chains. Although it is widely recognised that transports and logistics are a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental logistics literature has only focused on the interaction between LSPs and their customers to a very limited extent. This is despite the fact that LSPs could include so-called green categories in their offerings, just as shippers could include green categories in their demands and that this interaction could in turn contribute to a decrease of greenhouse gas emissions.
The purpose of this thesis is to describe the extent to which green categories are taken into account in the logistics market and suggest explanations. This includes identifying those green categories that are relevant for the logistics market, as well as a description of matches and mismatches with regard to these green categories. The matches and mismatches are studied from both a general market perspective and a relationship perspective. Initial explanations for the matches and mismatches in the relationship perspective contribute to the final part of the purpose.
There are two basic theoretical starting-points in this thesis. Firstly, it is recognised that the logistics market is important to the purpose and different ways to view this market are therefore discussed. Secondly, general environmental logistics literature provides a basis for the research into green categories that can be offered or demanded on the logistics market. In the exploratoryresearch conducted for the thesis, the insights from literature are combined with empirical datafrom a survey, a homepage scan and four case studies of buyer-supplier relationships.
One main contribution of this thesis is the large number of green categories that are identified as relevant for LSPs and shippers on the logistics market. These green categories range from environmental management systems, vehicle technologies and CO2 reports, to reviews of sustainability reports, relationship specific green projects and general desires among shippers to decrease CO2 emissions.
A comparison of the supply of and demand for the green categories indicates that from a general market perspective, there appear to be clear mismatches between green supply and green demand. The same comparison made from a relationship perspective also indicates severalmismatches between green supply and green demand, but the buyer-supplier relationships studied show matches between green offerings and green demands to a greater extent than the market perspective does. Interestingly, the LSPs seem to include more in their offerings than the shippers appear to include in their demands for almost all mismatches in both the market perspective and the relationship perspective.
Seven propositions are made to account for the matches and mismatches between green categories in buyer-supplier relationships. Three of these propositions are related to the characteristics of those green categories that are found in the relationships. It is suggested that the tangibility level of green categories influences the occurrence of matches and mismatches in the relationships and the more tangible a green category is, the higher is the likelihood of a match between supply and demand in that relationship. The opposite is also suggested, as well as the idea that the more relationship specific green categories are, the fewer the mismatches that appear in that relationship.
The remaining four propositions relate to the potential connection between the type of relationship between LSPs and shippers and green matches and mismatches in their relationships. It is suggested that the closer a business relationship is, 1) the greater the number of green categories it has 2) the better green categories are communicated 3) the greater the number of matches compared to mismatches of green categories and 4) the higher the level of green category collaboration is.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2011. , 171 p.
2011-05-30, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, 10:15 (Swedish)
Huge-Brodin, Maria, Dr.Björklund, Maria, Dr.