Operations Research for Green Logistics - An Overview of Aspects, Issues, Contributions and Challenges

Rommert Dekker, JM Bloemhof-Ruwaard, I Mallidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

613 Citations (Scopus)


The worldwide economic growth of the last century has given rise to a vast consumption of goods while globalization has led to large streams of goods all over the world. The production, transportation, storage and consumption of all these goods, however, have created large environmental problems. Today, global warming, created by large scale emissions of greenhouse gasses, is a top environmental concern. Governments, action groups and companies are asking for measures to counter this threat. Operations research has a long tradition in improving operations and especially in reducing costs. In this paper, we present a review that highlights the contribution of operations research to green logistics, which involves the integration of environmental aspects in logistics. We give a sketch of the present and possible developments, focussing on design, planning and control in a supply chain for transportation, inventory of products and facility decisions. While doing this, we also indicate several areas where environmental aspects could be included in OR models for logistics. Highlights ¿ Operations Research has many contributions to green logistics, like efficient use of equipment, optimization of speeds, determination of shortest routes and more efficient transportation concepts. ¿ Greening of transportation is not only a matter of less energy consuming equipment, but also of using that equipment efficiently. This can be achieved by Operations Research techniques, including revenue management. ¿ Operations Research can both help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by making operations more efficient, as well as showing the trade-offs between costs and emissions. Quite often it appears that a small increase in costs can lead to a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. ¿ Operations Research methods allow an optimization of a whole supply chain, and can therefore also help in finding the most environmental friendly set-up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-679
Number of pages29
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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