A content analysis of environmentally sustainable logistics - A complexity outlook

Research output: Working paper


Purpose of this paper
The purpose of this article is to explore themes and challenges in making logistics environmentally sustainable with a complexity theoretical perspective.

The research is explorative and based on a cross-sectional design focusing on different entities of supply chains. The study set out with a systematic review and content analysis of articles in top-ranking related journals from logistics, transportation, sustainability and environmental areas.

The findings show that there is a great gap between the sustainable logistics challenges, and the models and frameworks for approaching and handle these. While the vast majority of models and solutions are based on reductionistic principles and simplified views on reality, the results indicate that obstacles in developing logistics in an environmental-friendly way are both complicated and complex as it involves paradoxes, contradictions and system-wide effects.

Research limitations/implications (if applicable)
Sustainability in this article is mainly related to environmental issues. Analysis of complex interactions between complex environmental pillar with complex social and economic pillars could provide opportunities for future research.

Practical implications (if applicable)
The offered results in this paper provides a systematic structure for classifying issues related to logistics sustainability, something that will be beneficial for managers and policy-makers when approaching sustainable logistics challenges.

What is original/value of paper
Identification, classification and analysis of current problems and challenges of environmental sustainability of logistics are new. This paper also presents a thorough summary of previous approaches and studies of sustainable logistics.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Mechanical Engineering


  • sustainability, transport, Supply chain, logistics, complexity, packaging logistics
Original languageSwedish
Publisher22nd annual NOFOMA conference
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch