Reducing transportation emissions – a reaction to stakeholder pressure or a strategy to increase competitive advantage

Henrik Pålsson, Gyöngyi Kovács

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (SciVal)


Purpose: This paper evaluates why companies reduce transportation emissions by examining the relative importance of external drivers vs. internal motives for companies in considering CO2 emissions in freight transportation.

Design/methodology/approach: A framework is suggested that captures internal, competitiveness-driven motives and external, stakeholder-driven drivers for companies seeking to reduce CO2 in freight transportation. These factors are tested in a large industry survey in Sweden. The survey resulted in 172 responses from corporate heads of logistics, a response rate of 40.3%.

Findings: Variations in responding to stakeholder pressure vs. company strategy for reducing transportation emissions are identified. Company strategy outweighs stakeholder pressure in determining whether a company intends to green its transportation. The strategy leads to company-internal motives for reducing transportation emissions which differ from company to company. These differences, in turn, lead to different levels of intended reductions. Stakeholder pressure sets the minimal levels that elevate the performance of a group of companies in an industry or a country, but the differentiation effect across companies is lost. The intention to reduce emissions is greatest if a company has both economic and image motives. The logistics resource configuration does not seem to impact drivers and motives.

Research limitations/implications: The research is based on companies in Sweden. Studies across several countries are needed to investigate the impact of national requirements.

Originality/value: The paper shows that the combination of the resource-based view and stakeholder theory presents a better explanation as to why companies reduce transportation emissions than either of them do separately. By combining the two theories this research differentiates between how stakeholder pressure and company strategy influence intents to green transportation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-304
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Mechanical Engineering


  • CO2 emissions
  • Driver
  • Freight transport
  • Motive
  • RBV
  • Stakeholder
  • Survey
  • Sustainability


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