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Distance matters – The environmental impact of regional and national supply chains of canned tomatoes

Listed author(s):
  • G. Marletto


  • C. Silling

The environmental impact of food transportation depends on the trade-off between (increased) distances and the efficiency of modern logistics procedures. The relevant literature points out that such a trade-off is place and product specific, thus supporting the broadening of "food miles" research to new territories and product categories. Here we analyze the environmental impact – in terms of global warming, local pollution and traffic congestion – of two different canned tomatoes brands produced in Italy and consumed in Sassari (Sardinia, Italy). The supply chain of the first brand extends over the whole continental Italian territory, while the second one is mainly located in Sardinia. Different distribution patterns (modern vs. independent retail) and shopping modalities (foot vs. car) are also considered. The case study shows that the national supply chain contributes to global warming much more than the regional one, and therefore supports the view that shorter supply chains can be more sustainable than efficient logistics. The case study also confirms the very high impact of shopping by car, both in terms of global warming and local pollution.

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Paper provided by Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia in its series Working Paper CRENoS with number 201025.

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Date of creation: 2010
Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:201025
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