Decarbonization of Industrial Logistics: Understanding and Supporting Strategic and Operational Initiatives

Philipp Miklautsch-Breznik

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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According to the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the decisions made about reducing greenhouse gas emissions during the next decade will have a definitive impact on how severe the consequences of climate change will become. As all corners of the world have agreed that the worst-case scenarios presented by the IPCC and other research institutions are not desirable for human well-being, all countries, regions, sectors, companies, and other economic and non-economic entities have been or will be required to meet stringent emission reduction targets in the coming decades. One sector that will be hit hard by such reduction targets or emission taxes is transportation, since avoiding transportation is associated with the undesirable concept of sufficiency, and technological advances are costly and tedious. Particularly challenging is the freight transport sector, which due to its complexity and cost pressures, presents significant obstacles to decarbonization. As sustainable innovations were discovered to diffuse downstream the supply chain, one of the most important actors in the decarbonization of transportation is the transportation principal and buyer ¿ which is, for freight transportation, the freight owner. This entity determines the importance of logistics indicators such as costs, lead time, and emissions. It is exactly because of this reason that this thesis investigates the decarbonization of transportation from the industrial perspective which is commonly known as industrial logistics. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to close the gap between the well-researched field of Green Supply Chain Management and the under-researched field of industrial logistics decarbonization. Answering four overarching research questions that were delineated from existing research contributes to the scientific body of knowledge regarding strategic and operational perspectives and provides industrial logistics practitioners with effective decision-support. Throughout the publications that emerged from this thesis, various in-depth research questions were answered, providing nuanced insights in the decision-making process in industrial logistics, thereby enhancing the understanding of these processes. Subsequently, this increased understanding of strategic and operational decisions that have already been made by industry practitioners was utilized to develop several tools that effectively support future decisions on this field by practitioners. Conclusivley, an approach on how to decarbonize industrial logistics most effectively was developed and based on the evidence gathered throughout this thesis. For the scientific community, the transdisciplinary studies conducted by the authors brought up research gaps and ideas for future directions. In brief, this thesis yields scholarly contributions that enable researchers to understand how industrial freight owners comprehend and implement decarbonization in transportation. It also provides benchmark data from Austria and offers several tools for practitioners to assess decarbonization possibilities in their Scope 3 upstream and downstream transportation activities. This thesis presents the research context and frame, delineates the overarching research questions, summarizes the scholarly publications and their contributions to answering the questions, and conclusively presents implications for practitioners and researchers.
Translated title of the contributionDekarbonisierung der Industrielogistik: Verstehen und Unterstützen strategischer und operativer Initiativen
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Bauer, Ulrich, Assessor B (external), External person
  • Zsifkovits, Helmut, Assessor A (internal)
  • Zunk, Bernd Markus, Co-Supervisor (external), External person
  • Woschank, Manuel, Supervisor (internal)
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • green logistics
  • industrial logistics
  • decarbonization
  • climate change

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