Sustainable logistics: in search of solutions for a challenging new problem
First online: 23.09.2011
Cite this article as: Bretzke, WR. Logist. Res. (2011) 3: 179. doi:10.1007/s12159-011-0059-4
In order to establish a sound basis for discussing the notion of ‘sustainability’, the article starts by proposing a clear and unambiguous definition that can serve as an anchor for further research as well as for discussions with and among scientists, managers and politicians, ideally across different disciplines. The basic assumption behind the developed approach is the conviction that in order to make logistics sustainable, we will have to reinvent larger parts of it. The author argues that this cannot be achieved if logistics remains in a position where it only has to ensue the presettings of other department’s means (especially those of marketing) thus neglecting fundamental interdependencies. The interdependency highlighted here is the effect of an uncontrolled product proliferation on sustainability that can only be understood when looking at a formerly hidden multilevel chain of cause and effects crossing the borders between the functional departments of a company. As a consequence the author argues that within companies striving seriously for sustainability the status of logistics must (and consequently will) be enhanced. Among the drivers of change, a special attention is given to the future role of transportation costs.
Supply chain management Systems thinking Organisational structures Flexibility Transportation costs Climate change Greenhouse gas emissions Lead time extension