Systematic Approach to Sustainability of Novel Internet-Based System for Food Logistics

Open access


The aim of this paper is to evaluate the sustainability of a novel internet-based system for food logistics and to create a framework for more detailed future sustainability assessments. Digitalization enables food shopping via the internet and food delivery from producers to consumers using only a single terminal. The sustainability of different food logistic options was evaluated through a literature review and life cycle assessment. Given the frame of reference, there is a gap in the knowledge on the sustainability of food logistics. In addition, the current literature does not recognize a novel internet-based system for food logistics, as the literature has focused on evaluating the internet-based food logistics of traditional actors. The life cycle assessment results show that new food logistic options could reduce GHG emissions, but various factors affect the magnitude of the reductions. We also present a systematic approach to which factors should be included in future research. This paper creates a base for more detailed future food logistic sustainability assessments.

1. EPA. (2013). Global greenhouse gas emissions data. United States Environmental Protection Agency; 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2017, from

2. FAO. (2014). Agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions on the rise. Retrieved February 3, 2017, from

3. Anckar B., Walden P., & Tawfik, J. (2002). Creating customer value in online grocery shopping. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 30(4), 211-220. DOI: 10.1108/09590550210423681

4. San-Martín, S., Prodanova J. & Jiménez, N. (2015). The impact of age in the generation of satisfaction and WOM in mobile shopping. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 23, 1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2014.11.001

5. Björklund, M., Forslund, H. & Isaksson, M. (2016). Exploring logistics-related environmental sustainability in large retailers. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 44(1), 38-57. DOI: 10.1108/IJRDM-05-2015-0071

6. Kolk, A., Hong, P. & van Dolen, W. (2010). Corporate social responsibility in China: an analysis of domestic and foreign retailers’ sustainability dimensions. Business Strategy and the Environment, 19(5), 289-303. DOI: 10.1002/bse.630

7. Wiese, A., Zielke, S. & Toporowski, W. (2015). Sustainability in retailing - research streams and emerging trends. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 43(4). DOI: 10.1108/IJRDM-02-2015-0024

8. Vrechopoulos, A., O’Keefe, R., Doukidis, G. & Siomkos, G. (2004). Virtual store layout: an experimental comparison in the context of grocery retail. Journal of Retailing, 80, 13-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.jretai.2004.01.006

9. Hackney, R., Grant, K. & Birtwistle, G. (2006). The UK grocery business: towards a sustainable model for virtual markets. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 34(4), 354-368. DOI: 10.1108/09590550610660279

10. Wang, J., Malthouse, E. & Krishnamurthi, L. (2015). On the Go: How Mobile Shopping Affects Customer Purchase Behavior. Journal of Retailing, 91(2), 217-234. DOI: 10.1016/j.jretai.2015.01.002

11. Freeman, M. (2009). Experiences of Users from Online Grocery Stores. In D. Oliver, C. Livermore & F. Sudweeks (Eds.), Self-Service in the Internet Age Expectations and Experiences. (pp. 139-160) Springer-Verlag London Limited.

12. Hansen, T. (2005). Consumer adoption of online grocery buying: a discriminant analysis. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 33(2), 101-21. DOI: 10.1108/09590550510581449

13. Hand, C., Dall’Olmo, F., Harris, P., Singh, J. & Rettie, R. (2008). Online grocery shopping: the influence on situational factors. European Journal of Marketing, 43(9), 1205-1219. DOI: 10.1108/03090560910976447

14. De Kervenoael, R., Hallsworth, A. & Elms, J. (2014). Household pre-purchase practices and online grocery shopping. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 13, 364-372. DOI: 10.1002/cb.1484

15. Chintagunta, P., Chu, J. & Cebollada, J. (2012). Quantifying Transaction Costs in Online/Off-line Grocery Channel Choice. Marketing Science, 31(1), 96-114. DOI: 10.1287/mksc.1110.0678

16. Ring, L. & Tigert, D. (2001). Viewpoint: the decline and fall of Internet grocery retailers. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 29(6), 264-271. DOI: 10.1108/09590550110393956

17. Kämäräinen, V., Småros, J., Jaakkola T. & Holmström, J. (2001). Cost-effectiveness in the e-grocery business. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 29(1), 41-48. DOI: 10.1108/09590550110366352

18. Dey, A., LaGuardia, P. & Srinivasan, M. (2011). Building sustainability in logistics operations: a research agenda. Management Research Review, 34(11), 1237-1259. DOI: 10.1108/01409171111178774

19. Abukhader, S. & Jönson, G. (2004). Logistics and the environment: is it an established subject? International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 7(2), 137-149. DOI: 10.1080/13675560410001684201

20. Ytterhus, B., Arnestad, P. & Lothe, S. (1999). Environmental initiatives in the retailing sector: an analysis of supply chain pressures and partnerships. Eco-Management and Auditing, 6(4), 181-8. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0925(199912)6:4<181::AID-EMA115>3.0.CO;2-1

21. Wiese, A., Kellner, J., Lietke, B., Toporowski, W. & Zielke, S. (2012a). Sustainability in retailing - a summative content analysis. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 40(4), 318-335. DOI: 10.1108/09590551211211792

22. Coombs, R., Harvey, M. & Tether, B. (2003). Analysing distributed processes of provision and innovation. Industrial and Corporate Change, 12(6), 1125-1155. DOI: 10.1093/icc/12.6.1125

23. Lehner, M. 2015. Translating sustainability: the role of the retail store. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 43(4), 386-402. DOI: 10.1108/IJRDM-02-2014-0013

24. Wiese, A., Toporowski, W. & Zielke, S. (2012b). Transport-related CO2 effects of online and brick-and-mortar shopping: a comparison and sensitivity analysis of clothing retailing. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 17(6), 473-477. DOI: 10.1016/j.trd.2012.05.007

25. Katajajuuri, J-M. (2006). Environmental impacts and improvement options of sliced broiler fillet production. Maa- ja elintarviketalous 90.

26. Silvenius, F. (2012). Kala-LCA:n päivitys. Update fish LCA. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from

27. Finer, A. (2009). Calculation of the carbon footprint of Finnish barley products - Methodology and possible applications. Master’s Thesis, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland.

28. Hohenthal K. & Behm, K. (2009). Carbon footprint of toilet tissue paper: Comparison of toilet tissue using 100% fresh fiber pulp and 100% recovered fiber pulp. In European Tissue Symposium, November 2009. Available on:

29. ISO 14040. International Organization for Standardization. EN ISO 14040:2006. Environmental management. Life cycle assessment. Principles and framework.

30. ISO 14044. International Organisation for Standardization. EN ISO 14044:2006. Environmental management. Life cycle assessment. Requirements and guidelines.

31. Statistics Finland. (2014). Keskiarvokotitalouden kulutuksen eurojen (€), kasvihuonekaasupäästöjen (KHK) ja raakaaineiden käytön (RAK) jakautumat kulutuksen pääryhmille prosentteina vuosina 2006 ja 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2017, from

32. Technical Research Centre of Finland. (2014). Lipasto, traffic emissions. Retrieved January 25, 2017, from

33. Uitto, A. & Saloranta S. (2012). Yhdeksännen luokan oppilaat kestävän kehityksen kasvatuksen kokijoina ja toimijoina. In H. Risku-Norja, E. Jeronen, S. Kurppa, M. Mikkola & A. Uitto (Eds.), Ruoka, oppimisen edellytys ja opetuksen voimavara (pp. 48-58). Mikkeli: Ruralia instituutti, Helsingin yliopisto.

34. Salonen, A., Fredriksson, L., Järvinen, S., Korteniemi, P. & Danielsson, J. (2014). Sustainable Consumption in Finland - The Phenomenon, Consumer Profiles, and Future Scenarios. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 6(4), 59-82. DOI: 10.5539/ijms.v6n4p59

Journal Information

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1127 1082 115
PDF Downloads 214 207 24