Delivering Goods Using a Baby Pram: The Sustainability of Last-Mile Logistics Business Models

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Abstract

This study compares the differences in the attitudes of last-mile delivery companies operating with different business models toward economic, environmental, and social sustainability. The economic perspective focuses on productivity, the environment, and social sustainability, and where the environment and social sustainability are concerned, on carbon neutrality goals and means, and on what societal factors companies consider important, respectively. In this multi-case qualitative study, a literature review was carried out and 11 semi-structured expert interviews were conducted in companies representing three business model categories: crowdshipping companies, last-mile providers, and traditional logistics service providers. Based on this study, crowdshipping and last-mile companies were largely loss making, whereas logistics service providers were profitable. The first two groups invest heavily in growth, which explains the loss. All logistics service providers, half of the last-mile providers, and no crowdshipping companies set a carbon neutrality target. The biggest difference in environmental measures comes from the fact that in the crowdshipping business model deliveries are performed partly in conjunction with other travel, emphasizing job creation in society and freedom of work. In contrast, the last-mile and traditional logistics companies emphasized the responsibilities of the employer. For the scientific community, this study provides new insights into the subject from the perspective of different business models. For management, this research provides insight into the views of other companies that can be utilized in future decision making. For example, if the legislation of crowdshipping becomes clearer, then traditional companies could consider using it in their own operations to overcome labor shortages.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14031
JournalSustainability
Volume14
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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