Benefits and challenges of providing sustainable logistics : a case at a South African logistics company.
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The logistics industry particularly in South Africa is growing rapidly offering various new opportunities. However, with that growth, there is an increase in carbon emissions which cause environmental concerns in the country. As a result, logistics companies in South Africa and all around the world are waking up to the green movement. Sustainable logistics has attracted growing consideration with the binding pressures from environmental and social requirements. The study aims to answer the following research questions: What is the motivation behind Transport Company X providing sustainable logistics? What benefits does Transport Company X derive from providing sustainable logistics to its customers? What are the challenges that Transport Company X experiences in providing sustainable logistics to its customers? How does Transport Company X overcome these identified challenges? Exploratory and descriptive research was used to collect qualitative data at one of the logistics and transportation companies in South Africa. Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were conducted. A non-probability, purposive sampling method was used to select six participants from the target population of senior management and team leaders. Sound recordings of the interviews were transcribed and then analysed using content analysis. The findings describe the current sustainable logistics practices of this company. Cost savings and retaining of customers contribute to the main reasons behind providing sustainable logistics. Due to these cost savings the company is able to benefit through a competitive advantage of offering a lower rate to their customers, which has also attracted new customers. However, the participants did raise concerns pertaining to the fact that certain stakeholders lack discipline and are not complying with the sustainable logistics the company is trying to implement. The participants also stressed that sustainable logistics is only beginning to gain attention in South Africa; therefore, there is a major need for more training to create awareness of a green, sustainable culture within the industry.