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The effects of implementing environmental activities on the sustainable performance of Australian logistics companies

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Sadeghian Esfahani, S 2019 , 'The effects of implementing environmental activities on the sustainable performance of Australian logistics companies', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Logistics is one of the significant sectors that impact on the environment such as air emissions and noises. Consequently, the logistics industry has the potential to decrease negative impacts on the environment with the adoption of environmental-related activities. Despite the increasing awareness about sustainability, the pressure from governments worldwide for environmental adoption and the recognition of the benefits of implementing environmental activities, this area has not been widely researched in relation to Australian logistics companies. Therefore, this thesis empirically investigates the effects of implementing environmental activities on improving sustainable performance as well as the factors influencing environmental adoption.
A literature review is undertaken to identify the environmental-related activities within a logistics scope and the measures of sustainable performance as well as the factors influencing environmental adoption to develop the conceptual framework of this study. Empirically investigating the conceptual framework addresses the primary research question which investigates the effects of implementing environmental activities on improving sustainable performance. Secondly, it addresses the first secondary research question which investigates and ranks the factors having a greater influence on logistics companies towards adopting environmental activities. Thirdly, the conceptual framework is empirically tested to address the second and third secondary questions which rank the measures of sustainable performance from the perspective of Australian logistics managers, and finally, prioritises the implementation of environmental activities in logistics companies based on the preferences of managers. Random sampling is used to determine a sample of 297 senior managers of Australian logistics companies who are invited to participate in a quantitative web-based survey. A response rate of 21% (61 valid responses) was achieved that included logistics managers whose companies offer a wide range of logistics services. The survey was conducted to find which environmental activities have more effect on improving sustainable performance and those that are less effective. This study also focuses on the measures of sustainable performance and the dimensions that are more preferred by Australian logistics managers. These preferences were used as an approach to find the most beneficial and preferred environmental activities to implement from the perspective of logistics managers. Moreover, the environmental activities were ranked in this study by considering their effects on improving each dimension of sustainability separately (including economic, environmental and social), both dimensions of sustainability (such as economic and social together) simultaneously as well as three dimensions of sustainability. The factors influencing environmental adoption are investigated to find the most and the least effective factors. Improving sustainable performance, which can provide a competitive advantage, and acts as an influencing factor towards environmental adoption. To determine the level of environmental adoption in the Australian logistics industry, the most and the least implemented environmental activities in the last five years were investigated.
This study has both academic and practitioner contributions. At the conceptual level, this study contributes to the literature on logistics and sustainability by developing the conceptual framework with a focus on the logistics industry to cover the gap of the literature in terms of little attention on this sector. This conceptual framework expands the performance and competitive advantage views in the context of environmental adoption by considering and analysing the link among them. In addition, the study contributes to the literature by identifying new drivers and barriers towards environmental adoption as well as new environmental activities which are mentioned by respondents. This study evaluates the most important factors influencing environmental adoption that have not been previously considered in the Australian logistics industry by similar studies. It appears to be the first study conducted to rank the measures of sustainable performance because it reveals which improvements in specific measures have more importance from the view of managers. Moreover, the environmental activities in logistics are prioritised for the first time in this study based on their potential to improve the most important measures of sustainable performance. There is a research gap in the literature in terms of finding the ways of improving the level of environmental adoption. This study finds a way to increase environmental adoption by examining and finding the positive relationship between environmental adoption and improving sustainable performance which can act as a means of achieving a competitive advantage. Determining the level of environmental adoption and finding the most and the least implemented environmental activities in Australian logistics also may extend the context of environmental adoption in logistics.
At the practitioner level, the results provide logistics managers with an insight on the importance and benefits of each environmental activity in terms of improvement in economic, environmental, social and sustainable performance and show how these activities could be preferred to implement based on the company’s objective for improvement. These empirical findings help managers to benchmark their business in terms of their level of environmental adoption and determine the opportunity to achieve a competitive advantage by improving their sustainable performance and implementing environmental activities.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Sadeghian Esfahani, S
Keywords: Sustainability, Environmentally friendly activity, Sustainable performance, Competitive advantage, Logistics, Supply chain management
DOI / ID Number: 10.25959/100.00034530
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 the author

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