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Exploring retailers' sensitivity to local sustainability policies


  • Quak, H.J.
  • de Koster, M.B.M.


Local governments in Western Europe increasingly use city time-access regulations to improve social sustainibility. These regulations significantly influence the distribution process of retail chain organizations. This paper studies the impact of governmental timewindow pressure on retailers’ logistical concept and consequential financial and environmental distribution performance. We determine which dimensions in the retailer’s logistical concept determine its cost and emission sensitivity to increasing time-window pressure. Our research is based on a multiple case study of fourteen Dutch retail cases in different sectors and with different store formulas. The retailers provided all organizational, flow and cost data of their secondary distribution (between distribution center and stores). We use these data to calculate the impacts of different time-window pressure scenarios, including the current situation, using vehicle routing software. It appears that cost increases are moderate, when few cities are affected. However, as more cities are affected, costs increase considerably, particularly if time-window lengths become shorter. Time-windows harmonized between cities, lead to less negative effects. We find various dimensions that contribute to reducing the retailer’s sensitivity to timewindow pressure. We formulate conclusions hypothesizing the links between timewindow pressure, its effects, and the dimensions that determine these effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Quak, H.J. & de Koster, M.B.M., 2005. "Exploring retailers' sensitivity to local sustainability policies," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2005-066-LIS, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:7090

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    case study; city logistics / distribution; governmental regulation; retail; sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics
    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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