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Paper info: Achieving a greener freight transport purchasing process through a voluntary governmental program in France


Achieving a greener freight transport purchasing process through a voluntary governmental program in France


Nathalie Touratier-Muller

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 33rd IMP-conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.


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The purpose of this paper is to examine closely the transport purchasing process among proactive companies who are willing to reduce their CO2 transport emissions. Highlighting stakeholders and industrial purchasing theories as well as the IMP network perspective, this study helps us to understand how environmental concerns can better be taken into account during the transportation procurement operation. Building on sustainable transport purchasing review, we address the following questions:
1) Which department inside the company chooses the carrier, being aware of sustainable transport purchasing activities and what are the main motivations?
2) In a B-to-B context, how is the carriers’ environmental performance taken into account by shippers during the tender process?
The uniqueness of this study resides in its ability to identify which actors/departments play a key role when choosing a carrier and explore the transport buyer’s behavior toward environmental initiatives. It adds to the relatively limited empirical research that has been conducted on transportation purchasing processes, exploring the impact of a governmental voluntary program. Indeed, the recent voluntary initiative, launched by the French Environmental Agency (ADEME), called FRET 21, aims to reduce freight transport’s impact on the environment, encouraging shippers to reduce their CO2 transport emissions. To date in France, only 10 pro-active shippers are committed to this program, but a target of 1,000 signatory companies by 2020 is forecast. An explorative study is then conducted based on semistructured interviews in order to investigate what motivates these companies to take into account environmental aspects when purchasing freight transport services. Data from these 10 case companies are then used to explore the transport purchasing operation, intra and inter organizational collaborations as well as transport selection criteria. The study results will also confirm or reverse literature suggestions.