Logistics Service Providers going green : insights from the Swedish market

Abstract: During recent years pressures on the logistics and transport industry to involve and engage more in environmental work have increased. Governmental awareness of environmental impact has led to an increased pressure on the logistics and transport industry to reduce the emissions incurred by their operations. In addition, customers have become more interested and demanding regarding green initiatives in their purchasing of transport services. Although logistics service providers (LSPs) are becoming more aware of environmental problems, the development of green initiatives in the logistics and transport industry is described in the literature as being in its infancy phase. Considering the scarcity of studies on LSPs’ green initiatives, a study that reveals potential factors influencing the adoption of green initiatives may be helpful to fill the knowledge gap and provide opportunities for further research in this field.The purpose of this licentiate thesis is therefore to describe how different factors can affect the adoption of green initiatives among LSPs, and how the adoption of green initiatives can be reflected in the service offering. This includes identifying different kinds of triggers, drivers and barriers, as well as firm characteristics and describing how these factors can affect the adoption of green initiatives. Furthermore, ways in which the adoption of green initiatives can be reflected in the service offering are exemplified in order to answer the second part of the purpose.The theoretical base in this licentiate thesis can be linked to general environmental logistics literature, sustainable service, and product development research. The research in this study is in its nature explorative and empirical data have been obtained from a cross case study of six companies, and a survey study investigating LSPs active on the Swedish market.Based on the findings from the analysis, the LSPs studied have commenced to adopt green initiatives since they experience the pressure to adapt to future expectations and, understand the consequences. This will enable the LSPs to respond to the increasing and more global competition. Although increased competiveness seems to act as a trigger, the role of competitors as a driver affecting the adoption of green initiatives among LSPs are neither stressed in the case study nor singled out in the survey study as a significant driver. Increased, interest from customers and decisions from top management are both highlighted as triggers for LSPs to start adopting green initiatives, in the literature as well as among the LSPs studied.The role of customers and top management also seem to be prominent drivers in the further green development. By adopting green initiatives, LSPs strive to win new customers and there is also a desire to improve customer relationships. Furthermore, the engagement and support from top management can be crucial for how successfully the adoption of green initiatives is integrated into the company and received by the employees. In addition, among the LSPs studied, their employees can be considered as an essential driver and a resource when adopting green initiatives.