Purpose: Environmental sustainability is of increasing importance. The Logistics Service Industry is of specific interest: its impact from mainly transports is still increasing. However, the sustainability of any company also includes a long-term prosperous business. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how a hauler, as an example of a logistics service provider (LSP), through approaching environmental sustainability from an overall strategic business perspective, can succeed long-term.
Research Approach: The paper builds on an in-depth case study of a medium sized privately held LSP. The case was selected as it stands out compared to its competitors with respect to environmental engagement and long-term commitment to sustainability related issues. Starting from a framework based on RBT (Resource Based Theory), the case is analysed regarding how various types of resources and dynamic capabilities can contribute to sustainable competitive advantage.
Findings and Originality: The case study illustrates how an LSP can put various resources to work and how resources can be combined. It is demonstrated that these combinations of resources are valuable, rare and perfectly inimitable, and that they to a high extent are well established in the company, and hence not rely in certain individuals. The cases study further demonstrates how an LSP can sense possibilities, seize opportunities and, when needed, reshape its business accordingly, and hence possess critical dynamic capabilities. This research contributes by analysing an LSP that, in contrast to most of its competitors, has succeeded in making its sustainable development a strategic asset. This asset reaches beyond the commonly acknowledged efficiency gains, and is an interesting example of how an LSP through its dynamic capabilities can gain a unique position.
Research Impact: The strategic perspective through an RBT lens has previously been applied to LSPs mainly in survey based research. The results of this paper are rare, as they build on a real-case situation of a successful and sustainable LSP, while the extant research of success among LSPs going greener mostly suggest future development to become successful. This paper suggests how sustainable development can become a strategic asset for an LSP, and how dynamic capabilities can support that. Theories on dynamic capabilities have previously only been applied to a very limited extent on the analysis of LSPs aiming for going greener
Practical Impact: Based on this case, other LSPs may get inspiration to how they can develop their business to become more sustainable. The analysis points to that greening efforts cannot be seen in isolation, rather it is the combination of efforts, uniquely orchestrated for each case, that can make a difference. Therefore, the results point to relationships between various efforts, as well as how the different greening efforts fit the context of the LSP.
Derby: The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport & Derby University , 2015. 1-8 p.