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Energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions of different supply chains: a comparison of French, UK and Belgian cases

By C. Rizet, M. Browne, J. Leonardi, J. Allen and E. Cornelis


Freight transportation system is critical to economic activity but it carries significant environmental costs, notably GHG emissions and climate change : energy use and corresponding CO2 emissions is increasing faster in freight transport than in other sectors and this increase is primarily the result of increased trade. This paper compares the transport activities, associated energy consumption and CO2 emissions of different supply chains for a range of products in three countries: Belgium, France and United Kingdom. Among the products considered are furniture and ‘fruits & vegetables’. For each of these products, different supply chains, involving more or less transport activity and associated energy consumption are analysed in each country. The comparison highlights some of the main factors that influence GHG emissions for different supply chains and illustrates how they vary according to product and country of final distribution. In more detail, the paper addresses the main differences between the supply chains of these products namely, the origin of their sourcing, the logistical organisation between production and retail and different types of retail outlet. The origin of the sourcing impact is mainly related to distance. The impact of the logistical organisation between raw material and retail on GHG emissions is linked to the mode and vehicle choice and to the load factor. As for retail, the consumer trip emissions, between his home and the retail outlet, are also an important part of the whole supply chain emissions. It is worthwhile to notice that our goal in this project is to consider the whole supply chain, from production to consumption. Therefore a particular focus is put on the mobility behaviours of consumers purchasing the studied products during their shopping and dropping back home activities related to these products. Especially a web based survey has been conducted and the gathered results offer an opportunity for drawing a more detailed picture of the associated CO2 emissions. This paper uses the results of an ongoing research on supply chain energy efficiency, funded by ADEME (the French Energy Agency) through the French program on transport research (PREDIT). This research is based on a comprehensive review of the various approaches to quantifying the environmental impacts of supply chains together with data collection from a range of organisations including manufacturers, retailers and transport companies. We will first present the developed methodologies, then the results corresponding to each studied product will be described. A discussion of the potential application of the research approach to the wider debate about the environmental impact of freight transport and the scope for GHG emissions reduction targets to be achieved will be included

Topics: UOWABE
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:
Provided by: WestminsterResearch

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  1. (2007). Bilan Carbone Entreprises et Collectivités. Guide des facteurs d’émissions. Version 5.0. Calcul des facteurs d’émissions et sources bibliographiques utilisées,
  2. (2005). Life Cycle Assessment in the Supply Chain: A Review and Case Study’,

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