Original Research

Sustainable supply chain initiatives in reducing greenhouse gas emission within the road freight industry

Hemisha Makan, Gert J. Heyns
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 12 | a365 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v12i0.365 | © 2018 Hemisha Makan, Gert J. Heyns | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 January 2018 | Published: 31 July 2018

About the author(s)

Hemisha Makan, Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Gert J. Heyns, Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Background: Global supply chains have evolved from a traditional simple supply chain to one that is filled with complexities and uncertainties. The increase in road freight transportation has resulted in an escalation in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere, impacting climate change.

Objectives: The purpose of this article was to investigate the implementation of sustainable supply chain initiatives in reducing GHG emissions within the South African road freight transport industry.

Method: This research utilised a case study approach and used primary data, obtained through self-administered questionnaires, to explore the adopting sustainable transport management practices.

Results: The main drivers for implementing sustainable initiatives are pressure from consumer and brand protection, pressure from top management, and cost saving and revenue. Eco-driving, eco-routing and increasing vehicle carrying capacity are the most adopted sustainable supply chain initiatives implemented. The key benefits resulting from implementing sustainable initiatives were operational cost savings, improved competitive advantage and enhanced supplier relationships. Also, the lack of government support, lack of understanding of the cost and insufficient manpower were identified as the foremost challenges associated with the implementation of these sustainable initiatives.

Conclusion: The results reveal that organisations are placed under enormous pressure to implement sustainable practices. This study identifies various sustainable initiatives to reduce GHG emissions and addresses the associated benefits and challenges when implementing these initiatives.


greenhouse gases; road freight transport; sustainable supply chain management; South Africa


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