Environmental Management of Transport Companies: an Economic Necessity or Commercial Gimmick - Results of Three Research Projects in the Austrian Transport Sector



Environmental Management of Transport Companies: an Economic Necessity or Commercial Gimmick - Results of Three Research Projects in the Austrian Transport Sector

Authors

P Oberhofer, M Dieplinger, E Fuerst, WU Vienna, AT

Description

Environmental Management has become an important topic throughout the last decade. The aim of the paper lies in identifying strategies within the Austrian transport and logistics sector. Therefore the results of three surveys will be presented.

Abstract

Environmental Management has become an important business topic especially throughout the last decade. Key words like corporate social responsibility and sustainable development are frequently discussed. Nevertheless the issue still remains very complex with disparities in different business branches.

Besides some positive aspects like the support of economic growth and expanding international trade the transport and logistics sector has several negative environmental impacts. In order to decouple the transport and logistics performance from its negative effects - all above global warming - in particular the reduction of CO2 emissions followed by the change to environmental friendly packaging, wrapping and warehouse building as well as the use of efficient forms and means of transport as well as a reduced energy consumption should be an objective. As a consequence of the rising pollution, stricter environmental policy measures are inescapable and logistics service providers have to implement strategies that sufficiently consider ecological impacts. To incorporate ecological and sustainable aspects in the company structure, it is beneficial to build up a corporate environmental management system and to develop according products and services.

The aim of the paper lies in identifying strategies within the Austrian transport and logistics sector that are more or less popular in managing and responding to environmental issues. In addition the current state of tools for measuring emissions and measures to reduce them including their role in Austrian transport for hire and reward companies are presented. The paper shall also be understood as a contribution towards a systematic and rational discussion of the topic.

For the purpose of the evaluation of the above described problem the results of three surveys (one quantitative and two qualitative surveys) will be presented. For the quantitative survey a structured questionnaire was developed comprising 45 - mostly closed - questions including both questions of fact and opinion and mailed to companies in Austria which belong either to the sector of transport for hire or reward or are active in the field of transport on own account. A net sample of 243 companies actually participated. For the qualitative surveys selected expert interviews were carried out and systematically analyzed.

Several hypotheses and research questions have been raised. Moreover behavioral patterns and their respective changes over time have been investigated. For instance it was assumed that costs have considerable impact on implementation of Environmental Management. Furthermore the status quo implementations of Environmental Management of organizations are shown and recommended procedures are drafted.

An objective of every renowned company should be the implementation of a state-of-the-art Environmental Management scheme that is adjusted to their business focus and continuously enhanced respectively. The (intrinsically motivated) involvement and commitment of managers at different hierarchical levels is therefore indispensable. However as a complement of corporate strategies there is a distinct need for a supportive political framework and social awareness in order to support further developments and advances in this field.

Publisher

Association for European Transport