Main content area

The empirical study on the optimal distribution route of minimum carbon footprint of the retail industry

Li, Yan, Tan, Wenru, Sha, Ruili
Journal of cleaner production 2016 v.112 pp. 4237-4246
annealing, carbon, carbon footprint, computer software, emissions, energy, models, operating costs, retail marketing, transportation, China
In recent years, with the enlarging scale of the Chinese retail industry and the rapid growth of retail turnover, the energy consumption and relevant carbon emissions of the Chinese retail industry have seen a gradual upward tendency. Therefore, how to effectively reduce its carbon emissions has become increasingly important. Carbon emissions in the process of logistics distribution account for nearly 60% of the total carbon emissions in the Chinese retail industry, so the improved efficiency in logistics transportation can not only save operational costs but also significantly reduce carbon emissions of the Chinese retail industry. This paper aims to research on the optimization of vehicle routes of logistics distribution with their distribution centers and distribution vehicles. First, Model Z1 is built to describe logistics carbon emissions relative to the shortest optimal route, which is used to simulate the distribution distances of different routes. Compared with Model Z1, Model Z2 which describes the optimal vehicle routes relative to carbon emission reduction is established with the objective constraint function of carbon emission included. It is used to simulate carbon emissions of different routes. The two models are then compared and their differences in route and distribution order are obtained. Based on the actual data of the distribution center and the chain stores responsible for distribution of a chain retail company in south China, the annealing simulation method is employed in the computations of Models Z1 and Z2 and results of the optimal routes are obtained with the software Matlab. The results show that the distribution distance is a critical factor in influencing carbon emissions. The shortest vehicle route significantly affects the volume of carbon emission. Optimizing the distribution order further reduces carbon emissions after a constraint function of carbon emission is presented.