The use of ICT in road freight transport for CO2 reduction - an exploratory study of UK's grocery retail industry

Yingli Wang, Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues, Leighton Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to investigate empirically how information and communication technologies (ICT) can contribute to reduction of CO2 emissions in road freight transport and to identify opportunities for further improvements. Design/methodology/approach - This research adopts a multiple case study approach with three leading UK grocery retailers as exemplars of fast-moving consumer goods retailers, conducted using multiple data collection techniques including interviews, system demonstrations, onsite observations and the use of archive information. Findings - ICT solutions have a direct positive impact on CO2 emissions reduction but opportunities to further reduce CO2 emissions are perceived as lying beyond retailers' own distribution networks. These opportunities are not fully utilised due to the complexities of collaborative ICT provisions and retailers' reluctance to share information with competitors. Research limitations/implications - A limitation of the study is that it is exploratory and only three cases were examined. Even though these three retailers represent over 60 per cent of the UK grocery retail sector, other retailers may deploy significantly different ICT applications. Practical implications - The research provides an overarching insight for businesses on how to leverage the existing and emerging information technologies for environmental and economic benefits. Originality/value - While sustainability issues have received increasing attention recently, the role of ICT in freight transport for CO2 emissions reduction has not been investigated in depth and its impact is largely unknown. This research advances understanding about how ICT contributes CO2 emissions reductions and provides a framework for further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-29
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

© Yingli Wang, Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues and Leighton Evans. Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at licences/by/3.0/legalcode This research was supported by EPSRC UK via its first Grant Scheme (Ref. EP/J009210/1).


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