Sustainability in Last Mile Delivery - Exploring the Cognitive Frames of Retailers and LSPs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The increasing amount of last mile deliveries (LMD) pose many sustainability challenges, that retailers and logistics service providers (LSPs) can alleviate. This study explores the underlying sustainability interpretations of retail and LSP managers in the context of LMD, utilizing cognitive frames as a lens.

The methodological approach is a comparative multiple case study, including both retailers and LSPs as cases. The data consists of retailer and LSP interviews and secondary data.

Both retailers and LSPs interpret sustainability primarily as environmental sustainability and social sustainability is not considered. Most managers have a hierarchical cognitive frame regarding sustainability, where sustainability is an important topic, but is subversive to economic interests. The frame content attributes differ between retailers and LSPs.

Research limitations
The generalizability of the findings is limited by the case method and the data, gathered from companies and respondents primarily active in the Nordics.

Practical implications
Managers focus on environmental sustainability and those working with LMD could take a closer look at what social sustainability means for their operations. There also seems to be an imbalance between how retailers and LSPs see information being shared and utilized.

Social implications
This study can help retailers and LSPs be more aware of their sustainability decision-making in LMD and become more active regarding sustainability externalities, thus enabling better urban solutions.

This study builds on previous conceptual work on cognitive frames in supply chain management by applying cognitive frames empirically in an LMD context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the NOFOMA Annual Conference 2022
Publication date06.2022
Publication statusPublished - 06.2022
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventNOFOMA 2022 - University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
Duration: 08.06.202210.06.2022


  • 511 Economics
  • retailer
  • LSPs
  • last mile delivery
  • Business, Markets and Societal Dynamics
  • cognitive frames
  • Sustainability


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