The Environmental Impact of E-commerce : A comparative analysis of CO2e emissions in e-commerce and traditional retailing

Full text

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The Environmental Impact

of E-commerce

A comparative analysis of CO

2

e emissions in

e-commerce and traditional retailing

PAPER WITHIN Industrial Engineering and Management AUTHORS: Bladelius, Johanna & Volmerdal, Klara TUTOR: Tiedemann, Fredrik

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Mailing address: Visiting address: Telephone: Box 1026 Gjuterigatan 5 036-10 10 00

We want to thank everyone that has been supporting us during this thesis work. A special thanks to Jonas Willaredt at Husqvarna Group for giving us the opportunity to work with this project. Thanks also to everyone else at Husqvarna that has been participating in interviews and always been available for questions. We also want to thank our supervisor Fredrik Tiedemann for his continuous support and commitment to our work. Last but not least, thanks to our families and friends who have supported us throughout this time, and to our opponents for their valuable feedback.

Bladelius, Johanna Volmerdal, Klara

This exam work has been carried out at the School of Engineering in Jönköping in the subject area Industrial Engineering and Management of the three-year Bachelor of Science in Engineering program. The authors take full responsibility for the opinions, conclusions, and findings presented.

Examiner: Denis A. Coelho Supervisor: Fredrik Tiedemann Scope: 15 credits (first cycle) Date: June 2021

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the environmental impact of e-commerce,

considering the effects on CO2e emissions from transportation and implications on product packaging.

Method: The research approach used in the study is an exploratory single case study design.

The research questions were answered by using both qualitative and quantitative methods and the data collection methods used were interviews and document analyses in combination with a literature review.

Findings: The study shows that there is no straightforward answer to whether e-commerce is

a better option environmentally speaking or not since it very much depends on the context and circumstances. Regarding transportation, e-commerce and especially home delivery, emitted least CO2e emissions. It was also shown that electric cars were the most environmentally friendly option considering consumer trips. Regarding packaging, it was shown that e-commerce resulted in larger packages and thus more CO2e emissions and waste.

Originality: The study contributes to an understanding of the environmental implications of

e-commerce, and therefore, it can support companies in their progress toward becoming a more sustainable business.

Limitations/delimitations: The study is limited to one case company and focuses on

domestic deliveries within Sweden. Returns of products will not be included in any calculations. Emissions resulting from producing more packaging material, or the transportation of packaging material before usage, are not considered.

Theoretical implications: The study contributes to existing research within the area since

it covers a different context by studying a manufacturer and adds a new perspective by considering different fuels for consumer trips in the calculations.

Managerial implications: Based on the result of the study practical suggestions for

companies to reduce their environmental impact are presented, for example, implement a standard packaging procedure and outsource logistics activities to 3PL companies.

Keywords

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Sammanfattning

Syfte: Syftet med denna studie är att undersöka miljöeffekterna av e-handel, med beaktande

av effekterna på CO2e utsläpp från transport och konsekvenser för produktförpackningar.

Metod: Forskningsmetoden som används i studien är en undersökande design för enstaka

fallstudier. Forskningsfrågorna kan besvaras med både kvalitativa och kvantitativa metoder och de datainsamlingsmetoder som använts är intervjuer och dokumentanalyser i kombination med en litteraturöversikt.

Resultat: Studien visar att det inte finns något enkelt svar på om e-handel är ett bättre

alternativ miljömässigt eller inte, eftersom det beror mycket på sammanhang och omständigheter. När det gäller transport, e-handel och särskilt hemleverans, släppte de ut minst CO2e utsläpp. Det visades också att elbilar var det mest miljövänliga alternativet med tanke på konsumentresor. När det gäller förpackningar visades det att e-handel resulterade i större paket och därmed mer CO2e utsläpp och avfall.

Originalitet: Studien bidrar till en ökad förståelse för miljöpåverkan av e-handel, och kan

därför stödja företag i deras framsteg mot att bli en mer hållbar verksamhet.

Begränsningar: Studien är begränsad till ett fallföretag och fokuserar på inrikes leveranser

inom Sverige. Retur av produkter ingår inte i några av beräkningarna. Utsläpp från produktion av mer förpackningsmaterial eller transport av förpackningsmaterial före användning beaktas inte.

Teoretiska implikationer: Studien bidrar till befintlig forskning inom området eftersom

den täcker ett annat sammanhang genom att studera en tillverkare och lägger till ett nytt perspektiv genom att beakta olika bränslen för konsumentresor i beräkningarna.

Praktiska implikationer: Baserat på resultatet av studien presenteras praktiska förslag för

företag för att minska sin miljöpåverkan, till exempel genom att implementera en standardiserad process för att paketering och lägga ut logistikaktiviteter till 3PL-företag.

Nyckelord

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction... 1

1.1 Background ... 1

1.2 Problem description ... 1

1.3 Purpose and research questions... 2

1.4 Scope and delimitations ... 3

1.5 Outline of thesis ... 3 2 Methods ... 5 2.1 Research design ... 5 2.1.1 Case company... 6 2.1.2 Sample selection ... 7 2.2 Research process ... 8 2.3 Literature review ... 9 2.4 Data collection ... 9 2.4.1 Interviews ... 10 2.4.2 Document analysis ... 12 2.5 Data analysis ... 13 2.6 Data quality ... 14 3 Theoretical Framework ... 16 3.1 Distribution channels ... 16 3.2 Environmental implications ... 17 3.3 Transportation ... 20 3.3.1 Transportation modes... 21 3.4 Packaging ... 22 3.4.1 Waste ... 23 3.5 Sustainability ... 25

3.5.1 Greenhouse gas emissions ... 25

3.5.2 Sustainable transport ... 26

3.5.3 Sustainable development goals ... 27

4 Empirical Data ... 28

4.1 How does the distribution flow differ between e-commerce and traditional retailing? ... 28

4.2 How does CO2e emissions from transportation differ between e-commerce and traditional retailing? ... 30

4.3 What are the environmental implications of product packaging in e-commerce? ... 31

5 Analysis ... 35

5.1 How does the distribution flow differ between e-commerce and traditional retailing? ... 35

5.2 How does CO2e emissions from transportation differ between e-commerce and traditional retailing? ... 35

5.2.1 Traditional retailing ... 38

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5.3 What are the environmental implications of product packaging in e-commerce? ... 43

6 Discussion ... 45

6.1 Discussion of findings and contributions ... 45

6.1.1 How does the distribution flow differ between e-commerce and traditional retailing? 45 6.1.2 How does CO2e emissions from transportation differ between e-commerce and traditional retailing? ... 46

6.1.3 What are the environmental implications of product packaging in e-commerce? ... 48

6.2 Discussion of method ... 53

7 Conclusions and Further Research ... 55

7.1 Conclusion ... 55

7.2 Theoretical implications ... 55

7.3 Managerial implications ... 55

7.4 Suggestions for further research ... 56

References ... 58

Appendices ... 64

Appendix A: Interview questions ... 64

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List of Figures

Figure 2.1. Relationship between research questions and methods used ... 6

Figure 2.2. Research Process ... 8

Figure 3.1. Hierarchy of waste management ... 24

Figure 3.2. The Triple Bottom Line ... 25

Figure 3.3. Sustainable Development Goals ... 27

Figure 4.1. Distribution flow of traditional retailing ... 28

Figure 4.2. Distribution flow of e-commerce... 29

Figure 4.3. Chainsaw after PDI, without filling material ... 32

Figure 4.4. Chainsaw after PDI, with filling material ... 32

Figure 4.5. Example of package with multiple items ... 34

Figure 4.6. Example of package with a single item ... 34

Figure 5.1. Distances between all entities in the distribution flow of Consumer A ... 37

Figure 5.2. Distribution flow: consumer buying product at dealer, package/groupage delivery ... 38

Figure 5.3. Distribution flow: consumer buying product at dealer, part- or full truckload delivery . 38 Figure 5.4. Distribution flow: consumer picking up product at dealer, package delivery ... 39

Figure 5.5. Distribution flow: consumer picking up product at dealer, part- or full truckload delivery ... 40

Figure 5.6. Distribution flow: consumer picking up product at parcel point, package delivery ... 40

Figure 5.7. Distribution flow: consumer receiving home delivery, package delivery ... 41

Figure 5.8 Graph illustrating increasing CO2e emissions per kilometer. ... 42

Figure 5.9. Graph illustrating increasing CO2e emission in freight transport per kilogram ... 42

Figure 5.10. CO2e emissions in the scenarios ... 43

List of Tables

Table 2.1. Interviews/discussions during pre-study ... 10

Table 2.2. Interviews conducted for data collection ... 11

Table 2.3. Quality criteria of the study ... 14

Table 3.1. Overview of the literature presented in Environmental Implications ... 19

Table 3.2. Overview of literature presented in Transportation ... 21

Table 3.3. Overview of the literature presented in Packaging ... 23

Table 4.1. Emission report, first quarter ... 30

Table 4.2. Emission report, second quarter ... 31

Table 4.3. Emission report, third quarter ... 31

Table 4.4. Emission report, fourth quarter ... 31

Table 4.5. Measurement of boxes before and after PDI ... 33

Table 5.1. Mean value of emission factors ... 37

Table 5.2. CO2e emissions: consumer buying product at dealer, package/groupage delivery ... 38

Table 5.3. CO2e emissions: consumer buying product at dealer, part- or full truckload delivery ... 39

Table 5.4. CO2e emissions: consumer picking up product at dealer, package delivery ... 39

Table 5.5. CO2e emissions: consumer picking up product at a dealer, part- or full truckload delivery, sent as package ... 40

Table 5.6. CO2e emissions: consumer picking up product at parcel point, package delivery ... 41

Table 5.7. CO2e emissions: consumer receiving home delivery, package delivery ... 41

Table 5.8. Volume of trimmer box ... 43

Table 5.9. Volume of chainsaw box ... 44

Table 6.1. Overview of the main literature discussed, with the additional contribution from this study ... 50

List of Equations

Equation 1. Formula used to calculate CO2e emissions ... 36

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Some Key Acronyms and Abbreviations

3PL – Third-party Logistics

B2B – Business to Business B2C – Business to Consumer CO2 – Carbon Dioxide

CO2e – Carbon Dioxide Equivalents GHG – Greenhouse Gas

HGVs – Heavy Goods Vehicles KPIs – Key Performance Indicators LCV – Light Commercial Vehicles PDI – Pre-delivery inspection

SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals

SEPA – Swedish Environmental Protection Agency SSNC – Society for Nature Conservation

TBL – Triple Bottom Line TTW – Tank to Wheel WTW – Well to Wheel

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1

Introduction

This chapter provides an introduction to the subject. The chapter consists of five sections, whereas the first one describes the background to the study. The following part sheds light on the problem and is thus offering a motivation for the study. The study compares two distribution channels of a manufacturer and evaluates their respective environmental impact in terms of CO2e emissions and waste. Further details of the purpose are provided in the third

section, where the emerging research questions are also presented and explained. Finally, the scope and delimitations of the study are specified before the chapter ends with an outline of the thesis.

1.1 Background

We live in a digital world where many of our daily activities are performed digitally. We read the newspaper on the tablet, work on the computer and socialize with our friends on a smartphone. It is then not strange that we also do our shopping online and thus, e-commerce is growing more and more. E-commerce, or electronic commerce, is defined as “… maintaining relationships and conducting business transactions that include selling information, services, and goods by means of computer telecommunications networks” (Zwass, n.d.).

E-commerce grew 20 percent per year between 2004 and 2017, and in 2018, e-commerce constituted 9 percent of Swedish retailing, according to Svensk handel (2018). This can be compared by the development of the total retailing business that grew 4 percent in the same period. The reason for the growing interest in e-commerce is, for instance, that it’s easier for customers to compare prices and find product information, while it is also time saving (Svensk handel, 2018). A factor that has made e-commerce grow even faster is the covid-19 pandemic since it has affected the retailing business crucially. Customers’ shopping behaviors have changed because of the insecure times due to covid-19, which has resulted in less shopping. However, online shopping has increased, since the customers are avoiding visiting stores because of the infection risk (Forskning.se, 2020). According to the Swedish logistics company Postnord’s yearly report, 90% of the Swedish inhabitants between 18-79 years old have purchased more online since the pandemic hit (Postnord et al., 2021). The pandemic has led to a faster increase of e-commerce, and it will probably stay at a higher level when the pandemic is over (Forskning.se, 2020).

While e-commerce continues to increase, the interest in understanding the environmental implications of it is increasing as well (Mangiaracina et al., 2015). A literature review on the topic of environmental sustainability of Business to Consumer (B2C) e-commerce, with a particular focus on logistics, was conducted by Mangiaracina et al. (2015). They found that focus is shifting from merely understanding the environmental implications of e-commerce, to also be able to quantify it. Further, according to Mangiaracina et al. (2015), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is one of the most commonly used key performance indicators (KPIs) that enables a quantitative comparison between traditional retailing and e-commerce.

1.2 Problem description

The development of e-commerce has led manufacturers to change their way of working. Lu and Liu (2015) claim that manufacturers, in general, are starting to sell their products directly to the consumers via an online channel in addition to the traditional retailing channel, i.e., via the physical store of a retailer. To be able to establish an environmentally sound and sustainable e-commerce, manufacturers must be aware of the main factors that impact the environment, and their respective significance. Explorative studies within this area would therefore be valuable, since they can help determine and evaluate these factors.

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Existing research illustrates the complexity of comparing e-commerce to traditional retailing (e.g., van Loon, 2014; Mangiaracina et al., 2015; Weber, 2009). Thus, environmentally speaking, there is no straightforward answer to the question whether one distribution channel is better than the other. Instead, companies need to know the differences in environmental impacts between e-commerce and traditional retailing. Especially considering transportation and packaging, since these are the two main differences between the two channels, according to Weber et al. (2009).

In Sweden, a major part of the GHG emissions originate from road traffic, according to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA, 2021), which contributes to global warming since the emissions hinder heat radiation from leaving the atmosphere (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation [SSNC], 2020). This gives various consequences on the environment, for example melting glaciers and extreme weather (WWF, n.d.).

As previously mentioned, Mangiaracina et al. (2015) stated that GHG emissions is one of the most used KPIs to measure environmental impact. Moreover, SSNC (2020) states that to compare different GHG, and their respective impact on the climate, the gases are measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). Hence, the measurement represents the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would have the equivalent impact on the climate. For example, methane contributes 25 times more to the greenhouse effect, according to SEPA (n.d.), compared to carbon dioxide. Thus, 1 ton methane (CH4), would represent 25 tons carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

In conclusion, it is useful to make an empirical study of e-commerce in comparison to traditional retailing, by using the measurement of CO2e emissions. Since manufacturers are currently changing their way of working, it is interesting to explore their distribution channels and their respective environmental impact. The findings provide manufacturers, and other companies, with valuable insights that can support them in their progress of developing a more sustainable e-commerce.

1.3 Purpose and research questions

The purpose of this study is to explore the environmental impact of e-commerce, considering the effects on CO2e emissions from transportation and implications on product packaging. To fulfill this purpose, the distribution flow of e-commerce is considered in comparison to the distribution flow of traditional retailing. This allows the environmental impact of e-commerce to be evaluated. The first research question aims to describe the distribution flow from a manufacturing site to the consumer, i.e., the user of the product, and illustrate the differences of:

- traditional retailing: products sold by retailers in physical stores.

- e-commerce: products sold online via an e-commerce platform.

The following research question is therefore formulated:

1. How does the distribution flow differ between e-commerce and traditional retailing?

When these flows are illustrated separately, a comparison can be made. Thereafter, it is possible to measure the CO2e emissions from transportation, within each flow, and compare their environmental impact. Thus, this leads to the second research question:

2. How does CO2e emissions from transportation differ between e-commerce and

traditional retailing?

When the emissions have been measured, the first part of the purpose has been fulfilled. The last part of the purpose is fulfilled by analyzing the difference in product packaging between the

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two distribution channels and evaluating the environmental implications. Therefore, the third and final research question is as follows:

3. What are the environmental implications of product packaging in e-commerce?

1.4 Scope and delimitations

This study explores two distribution flows of end products. The distribution flow of traditional retailing will, in this study, encompass the product transportation from the manufacturing site to the retailer, and the consumer’s trip to and from the physical store. The distribution flow of e-commerce encompasses the product transportation from the manufacturing site to the consumer directly, or to a pick-up location, and the consumer’s trip to and from the pick-up location, if such trips were made. Potential e-commerce channels of the retailers are not considered.

The study is limited to domestic deliveries within Sweden, and thus, no international deliveries are taken into account. Further, returns of products will not be included in any calculations, potential implications will only be considered in the discussion. The activities in the supply chain, covered by the study, are from warehousing until the product reaches the consumer. All activities before that, e.g., the manufacturing of products, are assumed to be the same for both e-commerce and traditional retailing and are therefore not considered. Regarding product packaging, waste and CO2e emissions from transportation will be taken into account. Hence, emissions resulting from producing more packaging material, or the transportation of packaging material before usage, are not considered.

The study has an emphasis on sustainability. However, focus will be on the environmental aspect of sustainability. The social and economic aspect will thus only be briefly discussed.

1.5 Outline of thesis

The report consists of seven main chapters, followed by the reference list and appendices. They are structured as follows:

Chapter 1: The Introduction describes the background and problem formulation of the study

and thereafter the purpose is defined, which is also broken down into three research questions. Then follows the scope and delimitations of the study and ends with an outline of the thesis.

Chapter 2: In Methods, the choice of method used for this study is thoroughly described and

explained. There are seven sections within the chapter. First, the research design is described, including the connection between data collection methods and research questions. Then, the case company is presented. This is followed by an outline of the research process. Later, the literature review is described, as well as the methods used for the data collection. The chapter ends with a description of the data analysis and an assessment of the data quality.

Chapter 3: The Theoretical Framework presents the findings from the literature review. It

covers the topic area of this study and represents an overview of the most relevant literature needed to achieve the purpose of this study.

Chapter 4: The Empirical Data provides an account of the collected empirical data, which

constitute the base in the analysis. This is where the findings from the interviews and document analyses are presented.

Chapter 5: The Analysis chapter provides an answer to the three research questions. An

example with various scenarios is presented to exemplify the flows and emissions connected to e-commerce and traditional retailing. These scenarios are meant to simulate reality and a fictitious consumer is used based on various criteria to give the most accurate results.

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Chapter 6: In the Discussion, the results of the study are reflected upon and the discussion is

based on the three research questions. The context of the study is discussed and comparisons to literature are made to illuminate similarities and differences. The chapter ends with an evaluation of the method used in the study.

Chapter 7: The Conclusions and Further Research, summarizes the results of the study and

allows conclusions to be drawn Further, the study’s contribution to existing theory is explained, as well as the managerial implications, including suggestions for improvement. Finally, further research is proposed.

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2

Methods

This chapter consists of six sections. Firstly, the chapter begins by explaining the research design of the study, which is a case study design. The chapter continues with a presentation of the case company, and the case company selection criteria. This is followed by an account of the research process, where the different phases of the study are described. The following section explains the type of data that has been collected, and how it has been collected and analyzed. The chapter ends with an assessment on the quality of the study.

2.1 Research design

The purpose of this study is to explore the environmental impact of e-commerce, considering the effects on CO2e emissions from transportation and implications on product packaging. To

be able to understand the problem and fulfill the purpose, the phenomena and context should be studied in a real-life situation. In such instances, a case study is a suitable research method according to Yin (2018) and Darke and Shanks (2002) and is therefore used in this study.

For accomplishing the purpose and research questions of this study, an exploratory single-case study was carried out. Hence, this report is focused on a single case, at a specific company. This can be seen as a disadvantage since only one case is considered. Although, there is also a possibility to use a multiple-case design and thus investigate several cases. However, for this study an exploratory single-case study was deemed more appropriate since the intention was to do a deeper analysis of e-commerce compared to traditional retailing, to understand the differences. This is a first step for understanding the environmental impact of e-commerce. For further research, more single-case studies or multiple-case studies can be conducted to validate the results.

The study has used a deductive research approach. It is feasible since the research problem is that e-commerce is increasing but the environmental implications of it is still unclear. An answer to the problem is found by starting at the general principle that transportation causes CO2e emissions. The specific conclusions are reached by exploring whether e-commerce creates more CO2e emissions or not, compared to traditional retailing. By going from general principles to specific conclusions, a deductive approach is applied, according to Williamson et al. (2002). In order to answer the research questions, data needed to be collected to cover a wide range of evidence and this is a unique strength of a case study design, according to Yin (2018). This study has used interviews and document analyses as data collection methods to collect empirical data. A literature review was done to develop the theoretical framework which was then compared, and analyzed together, with the empirical findings to reach an answer to the research questions.

Figure 2.1 illustrates the relationship between the research questions and the methods used

to answer each question. As shown in Figure 2.1, the literature review has been a support in the answering of all three research questions. Research question 1 was answered mainly through interviews, research question 2 through document analysis and research question 3 could be answered by using the data collection methods interviews and document analysis.

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The study has used both qualitative and quantitative methods and data. According to Williamson et al. (2002), qualitative and quantitative methods can complement each other and by giving a broader perspective it results in a more detailed understanding of a situation. Qualitative data is in the form of words and quantitative data is in the form of numbers. To be able to answer the research questions in this study, qualitative data by using interviews as a method are needed to get an understanding of the problem while calculations and quantitative data are needed to get a more precise answer to the problem. The method used to collect the quantitative data was document analyses.

2.1.1 Case company

The case chosen to be studied in this report was Husqvarna Group. Husqvarna is an old Swedish manufacturing company with a history that goes back to the year 1689. At that time, it was a rifle factory, and it was located at a waterfall in Huskvarna, Sweden, to be able to use the hydropower for the production (Husqvarna Group, n.d). The company was then one of five rifle factories in the country, and they were all founded by the Swedish king. Husqvarna later on in the 1800s changed its production to fit the civil market (Husqvarna Museum, n.d). They realized that the machinery used for rifle manufacturing worked well together with the production of sewing machines. They also started to produce kitchen equipment and 12 million pieces of their popular meat grinder were exported worldwide. Husqvarna has over the years also produced bicycles and motorcycles and in 1919 they for the first time got into the product area where they are today, outdoor products. The first engine-powered lawn mower was produced in 1946. Forestry became more important in Sweden and Husqvarna used its knowledge about engines and started to manufacture chainsaws. Their outdoor product operations continue to grow, and the product portfolio expands (Husqvarna Group, n.d). Today Husqvarna Group is a world leader of outdoor products for forest and garden with products like robotic lawnmowers, chainsaws, trimmers, and garden tractors (Husqvarna Museum, n.d). Husqvarna Group has today 13000 employees in over 40 countries around the world. Husqvarna Group consists of three divisions: Husqvarna, Gardena, and Construction. This study was within the biggest one, Husqvarna Division. The group is continuously working with innovation and aims to create greater experiences for their customers and at the same time contribute to the wealth of our planet. Husqvarna Group’s sustainability initiative is called “Sustainovate'' and their main targets are Carbon, Circular, and People. One of their goals for 2025 is to reduce CO2e emissions by 35% across their value chain (Husqvarna Group, n.d). To achieve this goal, this study will be valuable. The Husqvarna Division has 25ooo independent dealers that sell Husqvarna products, but Husqvarna is also selling online on their website (Husqvarna Group, n.d). The company is going to develop their e-commerce more since that is what today's customer demands. Before the company has primarily worked as a manufacturer and their dealers have handled all the sales to customers. “Dealer” is Husqvarna’s name for the reseller that sells their products in physical stores. Husqvarna does not own any stores by

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themselves. This is the distribution channel where Husqvarna sells Business to Business (B2B). They will continue to sell through dealers in the future, but the development of e-commerce means that the company applies forward integration and handles some of the retail activities by themselves. Through their e-commerce, they are selling B2C.

Husqvarna Group is working actively with the UN's Sustainable development goals (Husqvarna Group, n.d), which are illustrated in Figure 3.3, Husqvarna is reducing the negative impact of its operations, referring to the following development goals:

● 8 - decent work and economic growth ● 13 - climate action

● 15 - life on land

They are creating positive impacts together with customers and value chain which is related to these goals:

● 11 - sustainable cities and communities ● 12 - responsible consumption and production ● 13 - climate action

Husqvarna Group wants to influence society at large by invest in these goals: ● 3 - good health and well-being

● 6 - clean water and sanitation

● 11 - sustainable cities and communities

2.1.2 Sample selection

Based on an already established contact with the company, Husqvarna Group was selected by convenience sampling. The company was considered an appropriate choice since it could fulfill the following criteria:

● Perform retailing activities

● Use both e-commerce and traditional retailing ● Ability to provide data on CO2e emissions

Husqvarna Group fulfilled all criteria to be able to reach the purpose of the study and was therefore chosen. However, there are some aspects that give more interest to study the company. They have by themselves had a wish to get an evaluation of e-commerce and to know what their environmental impact regarding CO2e emissions will be when e-commerce increases to know where they should put their focus.

Husqvarna Group is also an interesting company because of their product area. Different branches within retailing have matured digitally at a different pace. The book business has so far grown the most and half of the sales are made through e-commerce (Svensk handel, 2018). Home electronics and the fashion industry with clothes and shoes also have a high percentage of e-commerce. Several industries, such as books (Matthews et al., 2002), electronics (Weber et al., 2009), and the fashion industry (Bertram & Chi, 2017) have been researched before regarding the effects of e-commerce. Leisure time, including for example gardening, contained in 2018, 10 percent sales within e-commerce (Svensk handel, 2018). This number will most likely grow as e-commerce gets more and more popular. There has not been much research within this product area and is, therefore, a study of interest. Husqvarna is also an interesting company to study because of the customers they have. Their products do not fit all people in the same way as for example books and clothes do. They have a specific customer group called Pro grade experts and it includes house owners and farmers. People living in an apartment in the city would most likely not buy a chainsaw and the case study on this company therefore gives a new view of e-commerce compared to previous research.

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2.2 Research process

Figure 2.2 presents an overview of the research process. The study started with a pre-study in

order to gain more knowledge about the subject and better understand the problem. A literature search was made, using mainly Primo and ProQuest Central, to identify relevant articles and books. Also, more general web searches were conducted to overview the main concepts within the research area. Meanwhile, a meeting was held with the supervisor at the case company, who is also the Vice President of Sustainability Affairs, to exchange thoughts and ideas, as well as to discuss the direction and limitations of the thesis project. The Vice President IT Services and

Solutions, the Director European Logistics Global transport, and the Director Value Management and Packaging were also interviewed during this phase. They were asked to

describe the situation and current arrangements, and thereby help the researchers to better understand the existing set-up of the distribution channels. This was necessary for the researchers to be able to understand and formulate the problem.

The next step of the process was the problem formulation. After the discussions with the case company personnel, the research problem started to develop, and together with the findings from the literature search, it was becoming clearer. The research problem was then formulated, and naturally, so was the purpose of the study. Thereafter, a literature review was conducted in order to build, and develop, the theoretical framework of the study. Thus, the literature review

has not been used as a method to collect specific data, but rather to form a basis used to compare and assess the empirical findings against. Both online databases, websites, and books were used to find relevant and useful literature.

When the theoretical framework had been established, the collection of empirical data began. Several interviews were conducted with the case company personnel, which are described in more detail in Table 2.2. Another method used for data collection was document analysis, where documents provided by the case company were examined. For the second and third research question, various calculations had to be conducted, using the data found through the document analyses.

The last step of the process was to discuss the findings and the methods used to obtain them. The data collection methods were thus assessed, and the collected data had to be carefully

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evaluated. During this stage, connections were drawn between literature and empirical findings. The results of the study were scrutinized, and the methods were critically evaluated, which meant identifying strengths and weaknesses of the study. Also, the reliability and validity of the study were discussed before conclusions could be drawn and suggestions for future research were proposed.

2.3 Literature review

The literature review is an important part of the development of the theoretical framework (Williamson, 2002). Mainly, books and scientific articles were used. In this study, the findings from the literature review have been used to explain relevant concepts and present existing knowledge and research within the topic area. Hence, the literature review has been an essential element of this study, since it was necessary for evaluating and analyzing the empirical findings of this study, and thus, helped in answering all three research questions, as shown in Figure

2.1.

The main databases used to find scientific articles, as well as other relevant material, were Primo, ProQuest Central, and Scopus. Mostly, different combinations of the search words “e-commerce”, “online retailing”, “sustainability”, “environment”, “transportation”, and “CO2”, were used. The search words were selected because of the high relevance and connection to the topic area, and synonyms were used to not overlook valuable material. For example, both “e-commerce” and “online retailing” are wordings that other researchers can have used in papers that could be interesting for this study.

The chosen studies were not more than 10 years old, with only a few exceptions, and only articles that were deemed reliable, were used. The reason for focusing on more recent papers was due to the rapidly evolving topic of e-commerce. Consequently, the usefulness of such studies significantly decreases over time. The titles of the studies, from each search, were overviewed. When the title was satisfying, indicating the paper could be useful for this study, the abstract was read through, and most often the entire paper was skimmed through. If the paper was believed to possess any value, the paper was saved and categorised in a document. Snowballing was also used, which means that articles were identified by the citations in the reviewed papers (Badampudi et al., 2015).

One factor used to help with assessing the reliability of the article was the number of times it had been cited. If it had been cited many times, in comparison with the other hits, it was assumed reliable and could thus be used within this study. Naturally, newly published papers have not been cited as many times as older ones, which meant other factors had to be considered to assess the reliability of the paper. In this case, it was especially important to ensure the paper had been peer reviewed.

Further, various internet searches were conducted to identify databases and statistical sources of CO2e emissions from passenger cars. The purpose of the internet searches was to find sources to compare and analyze data on CO2e emissions, and ultimately determine the most relevant and reliable source to use for the analysis of research question 2. Several additional sources, besides the already examined papers, were found and evaluated. For example, SEPA, the Swedish Transport Agency, and various car brands presented numbers on the CO2e emissions of passenger cars. This information was not fully recounted in the theoretical framework. Nevertheless, it was an important part of the literature review since it illuminated a practical tool from SEPA, which came to play a significant role in answering research question 2.

2.4 Data collection

In order to gain a holistic view and better understanding of the respective distribution flows, managers of different departments at the case company were interviewed. The findings have been compared to the theoretical framework. The theoretical framework has, in turn, been

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developed by the examination of various sources and previous studies within the research field. Thus, triangulation of sources has been used to validate the findings. Moreover, in addition to interviews, document analysis has been used for the collection of data. In the document analysis, the documents provided by the case company have been compared with other sources, as well, to increase the validity of the findings. Method triangulation has thus been used in order to increase the validity of the findings. Triangulation increases the reliability of the conclusions that are drawn in this study, since the data have been collected by several sources and methods (Williamson et al., 2002).

Data can originate from both primary and secondary sources. A primary source is everything that came into existence during the research that is being conducted. Secondary sources are interpretations of primary data that have been collected for another purpose than this study (Bell & Waters, 2014). The conducted interviews form the base for primary sources while the document analyses provide secondary data. The secondary data have been used since the data gives sufficient information to conduct an analysis. The data regarding CO2e emissions have not been collected for the current study but for similar purposes. Other alternatives on how to collect this kind of data were considered, for example, to use an average on CO2 emissions from trucks found in different statistical sources, which has been used in Edwards et al. (2009). Since that method also contains an analysis of secondary data, it was considered an acceptable method for this study. Further, since the numbers stated in the document are intended to describe the case company’s transportation CO2e emissions, and that is what is requested for this study, the data seems to be reliable and could be used.

2.4.1 Interviews

Interviews have been performed in two different phases of the study. Figure 2.2 presented the research process, and it was explained that interviews were conducted in the pre-study and in the data collection phase. The interviews in the pre-study are presented in Table 2.1. The purpose with interview 1 was to discuss the purpose of the study with the case company supervisor to agree on the direction of the study. The discussion led to the main topics being identified and that the employees with the right knowledge within the case company could be found and contacted. In interview 2, all concerned professionals participated and all topics were discussed. The purpose with this interview was to discuss what expectations the case company had on the study and what the students required from the case company. For both of these interviews, no questions were thought of to be asked beforehand since they rather were general discussions on the subject.

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The qualitative data collected in this study originates from interviews made in the main study and could be found in Table 2.2. The purpose of these interviews was to get a deeper understanding of different topics within the research, as well as to provide data to answer research question 1 and 3, as shown in Figure 2.1.

Semi-structured interviews have been conducted in the data collection phase where some topics were predetermined for the interview to cover, but the respondents could speak freely. According to Williamson (2002), interviews are a common technique to use in case studies and semi-structured interviews give a more in-depth interview. Semi-structured interviews were used in this study since the purpose of the interviews was to gain an understanding of the topic within the case company. Therefore, this approach seemed to be the most suitable one. Some broad questions with the purpose of giving data to answer the research questions were prepared before the interviews. The semi-structured interview also gave an opportunity for the respondents to ask follow-up questions when new interesting ideas within the topic came up. Advantages of interviews are, according to Williamson (2002), that it results in complex and complete answers because of the possibility to clarify and explain questions. It, therefore, gives a fewer number of “I don’t know” answers. Interviews also allow the interviewer to observe the respondent and give richer data than self-administered questionnaires. Further, Williamson (2002) states some disadvantages of interviews. It can be expensive, both when it comes to time and money. It can also limit the geographic location of the respondents. However, in this case study there was no limit on the geographic location of the respondents since all interviews were handled by video calls. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the authors of this report were not allowed to visit the case company’s facilities to conduct the interviews. It was a disadvantage since much of the connection generated by being in the same room as the respondent was lost. However, it also became an advantage since a larger geographic area could be covered and therefore one respondent placed in the United Kingdom could participate in an interview. Another disadvantage with interviews is that the researcher may bias the responses (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). Since there were two interviewers present at each interview, the risk of bias responses was reduced.

The respondents were selected based on their work role and their area of expertise. This is referred to as purposive sampling where it is important to include specific people in the sample (Williamson, 2002). During interview 1 with the supervisor at the case company, the participants for the study were identified. The supervisor and three other professionals were chosen to be interviewed in the study and they were all managers within their area. These people worked in different departments within Husqvarna Group and had different knowledge. One was specialized in sustainability, one was developing e-commerce within Husqvarna Group,

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one worked with transportation, and one with packaging. These people were chosen since their knowledge areas are valuable for the study. If it, during the interviews, came up questions that the respondents were not able to answer they forwarded the question to people that could answer. This was the case for interview 6 which was a follow-up interview in the area of packaging. This interview gave further information and knowledge about the concept of packaging. It is referred to as snowball sampling, where people in the study invite other people to the study that they believe would be valuable for the study (Williamson, 2002). Besides interviews with video calls, email conversations were in some cases used as a complement to clarify facts and to ask for data, such as specific documents.

The conducted interviews are shown in Table 2.2. The table presents the work title of the respondent, the time duration of the interview, how the interview was conducted, if it was recorded, how many interviewers were present, and what type of interview it was. Before each interview, the respondents were asked if they approved of audio recording the interview. Each interview was booked in advance at a time when the respondents were available. One hour was booked for interviews 3-5. That time was chosen since it was considered to be enough time to obtain information about the subject and at the same time not take up too much of the respondents' time. For interview 6, only 30 minutes were booked since it was used to get follow-up information about packaging that had already been discussed in a previous interview. It was always possible to book additional interview sessions if needed.

2.4.2 Document analysis

Two different document analyses have been used to collect data, one to gain information about Husqvarna’s transport related CO2e emissions and one with information regarding the packaging of products. The documents were provided by the case company after the conducted interviews. The interviews gave an understanding of what kind of documents were needed and what was possible to get. The documents were asked for and provided by email. Moreover, a limited time perspective has been applied, and only documents containing data from 2020 have been used.

Quarterly reports about Husqvarna’s transport-related emissions from deliveries, provided by Husqvarna’s carrier, have been examined. The emissions were measured and presented following European standard EN 16258, in the form of Well to Wheel (WTW), and Tank to Wheel (TTW), in terms of both CO2e emissions and energy. Moreover, the documents describe and explain the scope and definitions of the measurements used. The values used within this study are those of WTWl, which means GHG emissions from the production of fuel or other energy sources are considered. It also includes the GHG emissions arising from the fuel combustion or the use of other energy sources, which is referred to as TTW.

The document regarding packaging contained measurements of two different products before and after pre-delivery inspection (PDI) and pictures of what the packaging looks like. The documents gave a clear view of differences in the packaging in a distinct way. According to Bow (2002), this is an advantage with document analysis since documents provide valuable insights for researchers within a studied company.

Further, Creswell and Creswell (2018) present other advantages and disadvantages of using document analysis as a method. Advantages are that it can be accessed at a time that is convenient for the researcher and saves time since there is no need for transcription. Disadvantages are that the material can be incomplete or not authentic or accurate. The reports containing the emissions data, provided by the carrier, can serve as an example for both of these perspectives – they presented the required information in a clear and concise manner, and was thus time efficient. However, the accuracy of the data was more difficult to determine, but since the company had provided information about the methods used for conducting the measurements, the documents were deemed reliable.

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2.5 Data analysis

Data was collected through interviews and document analyses. At all times, the data was carefully evaluated and discussed to determine its relevance and significance. Further, a literature review was carried out in parallel with the data retrieval from different sources to develop a theoretical framework. At first, a pre-study was conducted to get an understanding of the subject area and identify similar studies. These studies were then examined more

thoroughly in attempting to determine the main factors influencing the CO2e emissions

stemming from e-commerce. The most relevant studies were selected to form the base of the theoretical framework, where the results were summarized and presented. Furthermore, the studies provided insights about relevant theoretical concepts, which are explained in the theoretical framework.

Moreover, during the literature review, various databases and statistical sources, containing information about the CO2e emissions from passenger cars, were analyzed. The findings were analyzed and compared to the theoretical framework to determine the most credible source and use as a basis for the second research question. SEPA’s Excel calculation tool (SEPA, 2020) for calculating transport emissions was considered to be the most reliable and applicable tool to use. The decision was based on the fact that the emissions were calculated as WTW and included CO2e emissions. Since WTW was considered to give a more truthful result regarding the actual CO2e emissions, it was important for the source of emissions of passenger cars to use it as well. It was also important that it also showed CO2e emissions and not just CO2 emissions. This requirement was fulfilled by SEPA’s calculation tool. Other sources that were considered didn’t state if it was measured according to WTW or TTW. They did not either include a measurement of CO2e emissions.

To strengthen the choice of using SEPA’s Excel calculation tool to calculate consumer trips, the calculations were compared with the other sources of CO2e emissions that had been considered. It was shown that the different sources had quite similar results. However, emissions with only CO2 were a bit lower than the emissions that included CO2e. That is a natural result since CO2e considers more greenhouse gases. Based on this analysis, SEPA’s calculation tool was deemed appropriate for calculating the consumer trips.

In parallel with overviewing the existing literature on the subject, interviews were conducted to gain more knowledge about the case company and its operations. Together with the preliminary findings from the literature review, a deeper understanding of the problem, and the complexity of it, was developed. The interviews were all transcribed and repeatedly revisited, to cross-check the findings from the literature review, or merely to make sure no points were overlooked. For the first research question, data gathered from the third interview (see Table 2.2) was used to answer it. Additional research within the area of e-commerce revealed the same differences between the different settings of the two distribution channels. Likewise, the documents from the carrier corroborated the set-up explained by the Director European Logistics Global Transport, by declaring the emissions for the different transportation arrangements.

The compiled data formed the basis for the second research question. The knowledge gained from the literature review was used to understand the implications of the differences in the distribution flows. The documents from the carrier, provided by the case company, further illustrated differences in terms of CO2e emissions. The data required to make specific calculations for certain scenarios were identified, and the findings were constantly cross-checked with other sources found in literature and various websites.

Furthermore, the interviews were essential to determine the role of packaging, in terms of CO2e emissions from transportation, which was the focus of the third research question. The third interview provided an overview of the packaging situation at the case company and revealed some of the issues connected to it. However, more data was required, and in the fifth and sixth interview the packaging function was discussed further. This provided additional data in the

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form of specific measures and pictures were provided via email. Some of the findings were especially related to some of the case company’s specific products. However, the findings were compared with current literature, which confirmed the significance of packaging in e-commerce.

2.6 Data quality

Table 2.3 shows the quality criteria of this study. According to Yin (2018), construct validity, internal validity, external validity, and reliability, are the most commonly used tests in social

research but are also relevant for case study research. Table 2.3 provides a definition of each quality criterion and describes how these are fulfilled. A more thorough description of how the quality criteria was ensured follows below.

As shown in Table 2.3, construct validity can be reached to use correct operational measures for the concepts being measured, and this can be especially challenging in case study research (Yin, 2018). According to Yin (2018), a tactic to increase this quality criterion is to use multiple sources of evidence, which have been done in this study. The empirical findings have continuously been compared with previous studies and literature within the research area, for each research question. Further, the conducted interviews provide the perspectives of several respondents, which helped in answering research question 1 and 2. In addition to this, document analysis was yet another method used to answer research question 2. Finally, research question 3 was also answered by interviewing more than one respondent and using the additional data collection method document analysis.

To reach internal validity, valid data is needed to measure what’s intended to be measured, i.e., CO2e emissions that are comparable. For the calculations made, two forms of data and emissions sources have been used. The first data form is Husqvarna’s transport-related emissions from deliveries, which have been provided and calculated by their carrier. The measures made in this study are valid since Husqvarna’s carrier uses a European standard, called EN 16258, to calculate the emissions. This is a standard that is used to calculate the GHG of transport services. The carrier has presented values for both WTW and TTW which gave a possibility to choose what to use. The emissions are presented in CO2e which is preferable since it gives a broader picture of the actual emissions. The calculations made in this study have used WTW data and have calculated the CO2e emissions in the scenarios by using a formula from EN 16258.

The second data form is the emissions from the consumer trips which have been added to the scenarios with Husqvarna’s transportation emissions. To be able to compare the numbers to each other, the data needs to be measured in the same way. Several sources of emissions on customer transportation have been examined and analyzed. The most valid source found to use is SEPA’s Excel calculation tool and that is because the emissions that are being calculated are based on WTW data and are presented both as CO2e and CO2 emissions. The results from the tool have been compared with other sources and previous studies to see if the emissions are reasonable and a conclusion has been drawn that they are. Factors that strengthen the use of SEPA calculation tool is that it is produced with a purpose for administrative authorities and others to calculate their CO2e emissions. On mandate from SEPA, SMED, which is an

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abbreviation for Svenska MiljöEmissionsData, has updated and further developed the calculation tool. SMED is a collaboration between Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), Statistics Sweden (SCB), The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), and Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). The tool was last updated late in 2020 and should be as accurate as possible. SEPA’s Excel calculation tool is based on emission factors in the Handbook Emission Factors for Road Transport (HBEFA-model). The model was originally developed in 1995 on behalf of Environmental Protection Agencies in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland and was later on being supported by other countries as well, for example, Sweden. The model provides emission factors for different vehicle categories which are also divided into various categories based on different traffic situations. The latest Swedish version of the HBEFA-model was updated in 2019 by IVL on a mandate by Swedish Transport Administration. Based on this, the data on Husqvarna’s transportation emissions and the customer transportation emissions, calculated from SEPA’s tool, provides high internal validity.

Analytic generalization is applied to achieve external validity of the study. According to Yin (2018), analytic generalization is commonly used in case studies where the findings go beyond the specific single case company, to be used in other concrete situations. The analytic generalization is done through confirming, modifying, or rejecting the theory referenced in the theoretical background and leads to findings at a higher level than the specific case. Whether a study can be generalized through analytical generalization depends much on the research questions that have been asked. “How” and “Why” questions are normally easier to generalize and then result in a higher external validity (Yin, 2018). This study has used two “How” questions which helps to generalize the study and thus increase the external validity.

This study can be deemed reliable since all steps in this report have been outlined and thoroughly described and are therefore easily replicated. Other researchers can follow the same procedures described in the study and arrive at the same results. The interview questions are shown in the appendix A and all calculations have been explained.

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3

Theoretical Framework

In this chapter current literature on the subject is presented and theoretical concepts are explained. Results from previous studies are presented and concepts in the study are explained more in detail. The chapter contains five sections and the first one describes the concept distribution channels. The second section discusses the environmental implications of ecommerce and is a summary of research existing within the area. Next follows a description of transportation including different transportation modes. Later on packaging is introduced including the concept waste, what it is and what effects it can have. Lastly, sustainability is presented. The section contains a description of sustainability and the triple bottom line, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable transport, and the sustainable development goals.

3.1 Distribution channels

A supply chain is defined as “a set of firms that make and deliver goods and services to consumers” (Levy et al., 2014, p. 7). Grant et al. (2017), pictures a simplified supply chain, with the focal company at the center, its suppliers behind, and the customers ahead. However, there are more actors involved, than the focal company’s direct suppliers and customers, which only represents the first tier. The suppliers also have suppliers, and the customers can, in turn, have their customers, which constitute the second-tier suppliers and customers, and so forth. One of the focal company’s customers can, for example, be a retailer, which is an actor that sells products or services to consumers and provides a linkage between the manufacturing companies and the consumers (Levy et al., 2014).

Moreover, Levy et al. (2014) states that, often, supply chains involve some vertical integration. This means companies can have more than one role in the supply chain, i.e., a company can for example be both a retailer and a manufacturer. An example of backward integration is a retailer undertaking manufacturing activities, while forward integration would be the opposite, i.e., a manufacturer engaging in retailing activities.

The end of a supply chain consists of several channels through which products can reach consumers. The most common channel for selling products is through a physical store (Levy et al., 2014). However, Postnord’s yearly report (2021) illuminates a changing customer behavior. In 2020, e-commerce was expected to grow with 11 percent, but the actual growth was as much as 40 percent, and 35 billion SEK. Furthermore, in previous years, it’s been more common for people to have made their most recent purchase in a physical store, according to the report. However, for 2020, it was as common for people to have made their most recent purchase online, as in a physical store.

The development of e-commerce has led manufacturers to change their way of working. For example, Lu and Liu (2015) state that manufacturers, in various industries, are moving from a single-channel distribution system, toward a multi-channel approach. Manufacturers that have used physical retailers for distributing their products, are now using e-tailers, i.e., electronic retailers, or independent e-commerce platforms in addition to the traditional retailers with physical stores. Huang et al. (2019), describe how manufacturers, due to the progressing commerce and the development of third-party logistics (3PL), invest in developing their own e-commerce channel (e-channel), and start to sell directly to the consumer – known as manufacturer encroachment. In other words, B2B manufacturers are entering the B2C market, which means more companies are adopting a dual-channel strategy. The potential of reaching more consumer segments could be seen as one of the benefits of using traditional and online channels simultaneously. Pu et al. (2020), state that, in general, brand manufacturers nowadays value the establishment of an online channel.

Nonetheless, there are several aspects to consider for a manufacturer that intends to establish an e-channel of its own. For example, transportation and warehousing. Lu and Liu (2015) state

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that companies have become more interested in adopting an e-channel due to numerous factors – the improved efficiency in 3PL companies and e-commerce evolution, are pointed out as two of them. 3PL companies can have a significant role in the dual-channel strategy of manufacturers and for the last-mile distribution, according to Lu and Liu (2015).

In the traditional channel, where products are sold via a physical retailer, the consumer needs to visit the store in order to make a purchase. For e-commerce on the other hand, freight transport is necessary for delivering the product to the consumer, i.e., for the last-mile distribution. Levy et al. (2019) highlight several services freight companies can offer, for instance, tracking services and freight consolidation. Moreover, the authors claim that the main advantage of outsourcing logistics activities is that freight companies can be more efficient and cost effective since they are providing the same services to many other companies. Thus, they can achieve economies of scale.

3.2 Environmental implications

Bertram and Chi (2018) made a review of the current literature of e-commerce’s environmental impact, and they have found that the result is dependent on several factors. Actions within the supply chain and customer behavior affect whether e-commerce is a better or worse option than traditional retailing. The activities in the supply chain that the authors have considered in their literature review are packaging, transportation, returns, and disposal. Their study shows that e-commerce emits less CO2e, but since it relates to the supply chain activities and customer choices the emissions can vary greatly. The supply chain activities and customer choices can for example be the mode of transportation and the customer's choice of speed of delivery. Further, Bertram and Chi (2018) also say that even though online shopping seems to be the more environmentally friendly option, there are still situations where companies can improve their sustainability even more. It could for example be to work with the packaging design, not use excessive packaging and use packaging material that can easily be recycled. Another suggestion is that companies should compensate customers that choose a longer delivery time since it enables better consolidation of goods.

Weber et al. (2009) conducted a life cycle comparison of traditional retailing and e-commerce measuring energy use and CO2 emissions for an electronic product. Their study shows that the two distribution systems are similar at the beginning, regarding product manufacturing and warehousing. Differences are found later in the transportation chain in how the customer receives the product. Their findings show that important factors to consider in the comparison between traditional retailing and e-commerce are:

● the last mile distribution ● customer transport

● energy usage in the data center, retail store, and home computer. ● packaging of the product.

Weber et al. (2009) conclude that e-commerce both requires less energy and emits less CO2 and is therefore the more environmentally friendly option considering these two aspects. In total, e-commerce had 30% less energy consumption and CO2 emissions than traditional retailing. The three largest contributors to the result were last-mile delivery, customer transport and packaging.

Reviewing the environmental implications of B2C e-commerce, Mangiaracina et al. (2015), determined that the interest in sustainability issues is growing and that the focus has shifted from merely identifying the environmental impact of it to measuring and quantifying it. Mangiaracina et al. (2015) also claim that the environmental implications of logistics activities, connected to e-commerce, have not been thoroughly examined. Nevertheless, from the papers

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reviewed, Mangiaracina et al. (2015) found some main areas that are significant from a sustainability perspective:

● transportation planning and management ● warehousing

● packaging

● distribution network design

Out of these categories, transportation planning and management were found to be the most popular area of research. This area is important to the overall environmental performance of the distribution chain (Mangiaracina et al., 2015). However, Mangiaracina et al. (2015) found there to be no consensus among the results, but the environmental impact can be either positive or negative depending on the circumstances of the case in question. For example, inefficient deliveries have a negative impact, while using vehicles that emit less CO2 can have a positive impact (Mangiaracina et al., 2015).

Further, Mangiaracina et al. (2015) identified the main types of indicators used to assess and quantify the said environmental impact:

● gas emissions ● energy use ● waste generated ● traffic mileage

Their study showed that gas emissions and energy use are the most used indicators in research, while less research is focused on waste generated or traffic mileage. Finally, it was concluded that there are no universal models to determine the environmental implications of e-commerce, but they depend on the specific circumstances of the retailer’s business.

Considering emission per product, van Loon et al. (2014) established the number of purchased objects, i.e., basket size, as a critical factor of influence. For all scenarios of their study, but conventional shopping on foot, the CO2e emissions were reduced when more than one product was purchased. However, there can be significant differences depending on the chosen fulfillment method. The authors pointed out some key influencing factors impacting the sustainability of e-commerce, from a last-mile perspective:

● consumer travels

● e-fulfillment method

● basket size ● vehicle type ● packaging usage

● the energy efficiency of store ● e-fulfillment operations

Figur

Figure 2.1. Relationship between research questions and methods used

Figure 2.1.

Relationship between research questions and methods used p.14
Figure 2.2 presents an overview of the research process. The study started with a pre-study in  order to gain more knowledge about the subject and better understand the problem

Figure 2.2

presents an overview of the research process. The study started with a pre-study in order to gain more knowledge about the subject and better understand the problem p.16
Table 2.1. Interviews/discussions during pre-study

Table 2.1.

Interviews/discussions during pre-study p.18
Table 2.2. Interviews conducted for data collection

Table 2.2.

Interviews conducted for data collection p.19
Table 2.3 shows the quality criteria of this study. According to Yin (2018), construct validity,  internal validity, external validity, and reliability, are the most commonly used tests in social  research but are also relevant for case study research

Table 2.3

shows the quality criteria of this study. According to Yin (2018), construct validity, internal validity, external validity, and reliability, are the most commonly used tests in social research but are also relevant for case study research p.22
Figure  3.1.  Hierarchy  of waste management, modified from  (Grant et al., 2017, p. 183)

Figure 3.1.

Hierarchy of waste management, modified from (Grant et al., 2017, p. 183) p.32
Figure 3.2. The Triple Bottom Line, modified from (Grant et  al., 2017, p. 259)

Figure 3.2.

The Triple Bottom Line, modified from (Grant et al., 2017, p. 259) p.33
Figure 3.3. Sustainable Development Goals

Figure 3.3.

Sustainable Development Goals p.35
Figure 4.1. Distribution flow of traditional retailing

Figure 4.1.

Distribution flow of traditional retailing p.36
Figure 4.2. Distribution flow of e-commerce

Figure 4.2.

Distribution flow of e-commerce p.37
Figure 4.4. Chainsaw after PDI, with filling material

Figure 4.4.

Chainsaw after PDI, with filling material p.40
Figure 4.3. Chainsaw after PDI, without filling material

Figure 4.3.

Chainsaw after PDI, without filling material p.40
Figure 4.6. Example of package with a  single item

Figure 4.6.

Example of package with a single item p.42
Figure 4.5. Example of package with  multiple items

Figure 4.5.

Example of package with multiple items p.42
Figure  5.1  shows distances and delivery options for a potential consumer purchasing a  Husqvarna chainsaw

Figure 5.1

shows distances and delivery options for a potential consumer purchasing a Husqvarna chainsaw p.45
Table 5.1. Mean value of emission factors

Table 5.1.

Mean value of emission factors p.45
Table 5.2. CO2e emissions: consumer buying product at dealer,  package/groupage delivery

Table 5.2.

CO2e emissions: consumer buying product at dealer, package/groupage delivery p.46
Figure 5.2. Distribution flow: consumer buying product at dealer, package/groupage  delivery

Figure 5.2.

Distribution flow: consumer buying product at dealer, package/groupage delivery p.46
Table 3.1 presents the CO 2  e emissions resulting from transportation when the consumer goes  to the dealer to buy its product when the product has been sent to the dealer with package or  groupage delivery

Table 3.1

presents the CO 2 e emissions resulting from transportation when the consumer goes to the dealer to buy its product when the product has been sent to the dealer with package or groupage delivery p.46
Table 5.3 illustrates the CO 2  e emissions resulting from transportation when the consumer  goes to the dealer to buy its product, when the product has been sent to the dealer with part- or  full truckload

Table 5.3

illustrates the CO 2 e emissions resulting from transportation when the consumer goes to the dealer to buy its product, when the product has been sent to the dealer with part- or full truckload p.47
Figure 5.4. Distribution flow: consumer picking up product at dealer, package delivery  Table 5.4 illustrates the CO 2  e emissions resulting from transportation when the consumer  goes to the dealer to pick up its product when the product has been sent to

Figure 5.4.

Distribution flow: consumer picking up product at dealer, package delivery Table 5.4 illustrates the CO 2 e emissions resulting from transportation when the consumer goes to the dealer to pick up its product when the product has been sent to p.47
Figure 5.5. Distribution flow: consumer picking up product at dealer, part- or full  truckload delivery

Figure 5.5.

Distribution flow: consumer picking up product at dealer, part- or full truckload delivery p.48
Table  5.6  illustrates the CO 2  e emissions resulting from transportation when a consumer  orders the product online and picks it up at a parcel point

Table 5.6

illustrates the CO 2 e emissions resulting from transportation when a consumer orders the product online and picks it up at a parcel point p.48
Table 5.5 presents the CO 2  e emissions resulting from transportation when the consumer goes  to the dealer to pick up its product when the product has been sent to the dealer as a package  but on a part-or full truckload delivery

Table 5.5

presents the CO 2 e emissions resulting from transportation when the consumer goes to the dealer to pick up its product when the product has been sent to the dealer as a package but on a part-or full truckload delivery p.48
Table 5.7 shows the CO 2  e emissions resulting from transportation when a consumer orders  online and gets home delivery

Table 5.7

shows the CO 2 e emissions resulting from transportation when a consumer orders online and gets home delivery p.49
Table 5.6. CO2e emissions: consumer picking up product at parcel point,  package delivery

Table 5.6.

CO2e emissions: consumer picking up product at parcel point, package delivery p.49
Figure 5.9. Graph illustrating increasing CO2e emission in freight  transport per kilogram

Figure 5.9.

Graph illustrating increasing CO2e emission in freight transport per kilogram p.50
Table 5.8 and Table 5.9 show the volume of a trimmer box and a chainsaw box before and  after PDI has been performed

Table 5.8

and Table 5.9 show the volume of a trimmer box and a chainsaw box before and after PDI has been performed p.51
Table 6.1. Overview of the main literature discussed, with the additional  contribution from this study

Table 6.1.

Overview of the main literature discussed, with the additional contribution from this study p.58

Referenser

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