Thursday, 24 April 2008

Retailing and transportation in the 21st century

Working with IKEA and after discussion with a number of leading thinkers in the field we have now developed an approach for how retailers can approach the transport challenge. The approach is divided into three parts:

1. Traditional responsibility
For an estimation of the amount of CO2 the company is responsible for under when we assume a traditional responsibility three things are calculated. First the number of customers, second the kind of transportation mode they have chosen and third the distance they have travelled are added. This estimation provides the company with a rough estimation of how important costumer transportation is compared to other parts of the business by providing a snapshot of the current situation. This methodology is used by most established systems.

2. Shared responsibility
A shared responsibility is based on the assumption that companies should share the responsibility for the CO2 from transportation of customers if they tend to visit more than one store on their trips. This gives a better understanding of what actors that needs to be involved and how costs can be shared.

For an estimation of a shared responsibility for CO2 from customer transportation the amount of CO2 from a normal scenario is divided by the number of stops that a customer makes.

3. Trend setting responsibility
A transport system is nothing that is given once and for all, it is constantly changing depending on investments and transport patterns evolve due to for example the establishment of stores. The trend setting approach is based on the assumption that companies can contribute to different kind of trends.

The emission trends supported over time due to the establishing of stores, or other ways of selling, result in investments in supportive infrastructure, action by other companies, marketing, etc. When these trend setting activities over time result in reduced emissions this is called “low-carbon dynamic feedback” and if it results in increased emissions this is called “high-carbon dynamic feedback”.

We will now develop this approach further and hope to produce a paper that can be circulated in May.