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Development of social sustainability index for freight transportation system

Kumar, Aalok, Anbanandam, Ramesh
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.210 pp. 77-92
business enterprises, business organization, decision making, developing countries, experts, freight, fuzzy logic, industry, social sustainability, India
A sustainable business organization need to consider the importance of economic, environmental and social sustainability. Although researchers and practitioners focus their attention on the economic and environmental dimension of sustainability, less attention is paid to the social dimension of sustainability, particularly in developing countries. Nonetheless, these researchers and practitioners do not consider the social sustainability issue faced by freight transportation companies. To answer this issue, this article proposes a framework for computing social sustainability index, which is based on the freight transportation social sustainability enablers, dimensions, and attributes. To validate the proposed research framework, multiple freight transportation companies and eight industry experts were selected in the region of North India. Appropriate freight transport social sustainability enablers, dimensions, and attributes were identified based on literature and validated with multiple rounds of discussion with industry experts. The proposed framework considered four enablers, 16 dimensions, and 74 attributes including 17 new attributes of social sustainability. All the levels of social sustainability involve qualitativeness and incomplete information, so the fuzzy logic based methodology is more suitable to compute the overall social sustainability index. Freight transportation social sustainability index (FTSSI) has been computed as (4.472, 6.017, 7.591) and industry practices said to be “very socially sustainable”. Also, 21 poorer social sustainability attributes were found. The fuzzy logic based result was validated with the conventional crisp approach. The findings of the study will help transport industry managers, decision-makers, and government policymakers to take appropriate actions to improve the freight transport social sustainability performance attributes.