The KLU faculty, post-docs, and PhD candidates regularly publish the results of their research in scientific journals. You will find a complete overview of all KLU publications below (e.g. articles in peer-reviewed journals, professional journals, books, working papers, and conference proceedings). Search for relevant terms and keywords, or filter the list by name, year of publication or type of publication. The references include DOIs and abstracts where available, and you can download them to your own reference database or platform. We regularly update the database with new publications.

Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2018.09.049 

Abstract: This paper considers an unsignalized intersection used by two traffic streams. The first stream of cars is using a primary road, and has priority over the other stream. Cars belonging to the latter stream cross the primary road if the gaps between two subsequent cars on the primary road are larger than their critical headways. A question that naturally arises relates to the capacity of the secondary road: given the arrival pattern of cars on the primary road, what is the maximum arrival rate of low-priority cars that can be sustained? This paper addresses this issue by considering a compact model that sheds light on the dynamics of the considered unsignalized intersection. The model, which is of a queueing-theoretic nature, reveals interesting insights into the impact of the user behavior on the capacity. The contributions of this paper are threefold. First, we introduce a new way to analyze the capacity of the minor road. By representing the unsignalized intersection by an appropriately chosen Markovian model, the capacity can be expressed in terms of the solution of an elementary system of linear equations. The setup chosen is so flexible that it allows us to include a new form of bunching on the main road that allows for dependence between successive gaps, which we refer to as Markov platooning; this is the second contribution. The tractability of this model facilitates studying the impact that driver impatience and various platoon formations on the main road have on the capacity of the minor road. Finally, in numerical experiments we observe various surprising features of the aforementioned model. (published online first)

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Open reference in new window "Congestion analysis of unsignalized intersections: The impact of impatience and Markov platooning"

DOI: 10.1093/rof/rfz002 

Abstract: Abstract: We test the proposition that investors' ability to cope with financial losses is much better than they expect. In a panel survey of investors from a large bank in the UK, we ask for their subjective ratings of anticipated returns and experienced returns. The time period covered by the panel (2008-2010) is one where investors experienced frequent losses and gains in their portfolios. This period offers a unique setting to evaluate investors' hedonic experiences. We examine how the subjective ratings behave relative to expected portfolio returns and experienced portfolio returns. Loss aversion is strong for anticipated outcomes; investors are twice as sensitive to negative expected returns as to positive expected returns. However, when evaluating experienced returns, the effect diminishes by more than half and is well below commonly found loss aversion coefficients. This suggests that a large part of investors' financial loss aversion results from an affective forecasting error.

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Open reference in new window "Financial Loss Aversion Illusion"

DOI: doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2020.02.015 

Abstract: Many port authorities have developed ambitious strategies to foster hinterland intermodal transportation. In addition, port-centric logistics, that is, the provision of distribution facilities and value-adding activities in the port area, has expanded in multiple ports. Obviously, such port-centric logistics may impact the operations in the hinterland substantially and could potentially reduce opportunities for intermodal transport in the hinterland. We analyze the interaction between port-centric logistics and hinterland intermodal transportation. We take a logistics service provider’s perspective and we include some key elements in the model, such as detention fees, extra handling, transport efficiency and empty container repositioning. We develop new analytical results identifying the optimal market areas of truck-only transportation, port-centric logistics and hinterland intermodal transportation. Our results show that tension between port-centric logistics and hinterland intermodal transportation is quite likely to happen in practice. We additionally study the use of continental containers as a way to reconcile port-centric logistics and hinterland intermodal transportation and we derive further results. We illustrate our results via an example and we highlight managerial insights.

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Open reference in new window "Identifying the market areas of port-centric logistics and hinterland intermodal transportation"

DOI: 10.1007/s10869-017-9523-8 

Abstract: While previous research has assumed that intense leader anger displays result in negative consequences, researchers have recently started to outline their potential for prompting followers to improve their performance. We explain these conflicting positions by demonstrating that leaders’ anger intensity positively affects both deviance and work effort through triggering anger and anxiety in followers. We conducted two critical incident studies, replicating our results with different methodologies and controlling for potential alternative explanations. In line with theories on reciprocal emotions, supervisor-directed deviance became more likely with higher leader anger intensity because followers reacted with correspondingly more anger. However, in line with theories on complementary emotions, leaders’ anger intensity was also positively related to followers’ work effort due to followers’ anxiety. These results were replicated when taking leaders’ anger appropriateness into account as a potential moderator of the deviance-related path and when controlling for followers’ feelings of guilt (an alternative explanation for followers’ work effort). Our paper provides evidence that intense anger displays increase followers’ work effort but also cautions leaders to show these, as the work effort caused by them is based on followers’ intimidation and likely to be accompanied by deviant reactions. By considering the affective reactions triggered in followers, our paper integrates diverging theoretical perspectives on followers’ reactions to leaders’ anger intensity. Moreover, it is one of the first to disentangle the interpersonal effects that different expressions of the same emotion may have.

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Open reference in new window "Sparking Anger and Anxiety: Why Intense Leader Anger Displays Trigger Both More Deviance and Higher Work Effort in Followers"

DOI: 10.1108/IJOEM-12-2018-0663 

Abstract: Purpose In a contribution to the emerging research examining Chinese cross-border acquisitions (CBAs), the authors observe experiential learning applications for enhancing M&A completions. By emphasizing knowledge transfer, the authors reveal how target-to-target industry similarity and bidder-to-target cultural distance affect learning outcomes. Design/methodology/approach Using a binary logistic regression model, the authors examine a sample of CBA attempts announced by Chinese companies from January 2002 to December 2012 to identify the variables that affect the completion of CBAs. Findings The authors find that foreign acquisition experience but not domestic acquisition experience enhances subsequent acquisition attempts, especially when prior and focal target companies share the dominant industrial logic. Learning transfer is negatively affected when target countries are more culturally distant from China, but learning benefits appear to increase under strong bidder-to-target cultural distance. Originality/value By investigating learning in the precompletion stage in Chinese outward CBAs, the authors complement research that uses postacquisition performance to assess learning. The authors’ more fine-grained characterization reveals that acquisition experience increases knowledge transfer through experiential learning. Furthermore, the authors show that dominant industrial logic and cultural distance are underexplored contextual conditions, although they interact with foreign and domestic experience to affect the completion of CBAs.

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Open reference in new window "Experiential learning for Chinese companies to complete cross-border acquisitions: the case of Chinese acquirers"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063443 

Abstract: The current dependency on steel within modern society causes major environmental pollution, a result of the product’s life cycle phases. Unfortunately, very little data regarding single steel production processes have been found in literature. Therefore, a detailed analysis of impacts categorized in terms of relevance cannot be conducted. In this study, a complete life cycle assessment of steel production in an integrated German steel plant of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG, including an assessment of emissions from the blast furnace, the basic oxygen furnace, and casting rolling, is carried out. The functional unit is set to 1 kg hot-rolled coil, and the system boundaries are defined as cradle-to-gate. This study models the individual process steps and the resulting emitters using the software GaBi. Total emissions could be distributed into direct, upstream, and by-product emissions, where the biggest impacts in terms of direct emissions from single processes are from the power plant (48% global warming potential (GWP)), the blast furnace (22% GWP), and the sinter plant (79% photochemical ozone creation potential (POCP)). The summarized upstream processes have the largest share in the impact categories acidification potential (AP; 69%) and abiotic depletion potential fossil (ADPf; 110%). The results, including data verification, furthermore show the future significance of the supply chain in the necessary reduction that could be achieved.

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Open reference in new window "Life Cycle Assessment of an Integrated Steel Mill Using Primary Manufacturing Data: Actual Environmental Profile"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/15480518211005463 

Abstract: We investigated the turnover intentions of employees who perceive that they are being treated with more or less abusive supervision than their coworkers. We call this incongruent abusive supervision. Our findings support our theory that employees associate incongruent abusive supervision with anticipation of social exclusion from their coworkers. Furthermore, this appraisal of social exclusion threat is associated with feelings of shame, which, in turn, increase turnover intentions. Two experimental vignettes provide support for our theoretical model. These findings highlight coworkers’ abusive supervision as an important context for the experience of one’s own abusive supervision and introduce shame as an emotional mechanism important for understanding employee responses to incongruent abusive supervision.

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Open reference in new window "The Consequence of Incongruent Abusive Supervision: Anticipation of Social Exclusion, Shame, and Turnover Intentions"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041880 

Abstract: Wind-assisted ship propulsion (WASP) technology seems to be a promising solution toward accelerating the shipping industry’s decarbonization efforts as it uses wind to replace part of the propulsive power generated from fossil fuels. This article discusses the status quo of the WASP technological growth within the maritime transport sector by means of a secondary data review analysis, presents the potential fuel-saving implications, and identifies key factors that shape the operational efficiency of the technology. The analysis reveals three key considerations. Firstly, despite the existing limited number of WASP installations, there is a promising trend of diffusion of the technology within the industry. Secondly, companies can achieve fuel savings, which vary depending on the technology installed. Thirdly, these bunker savings are influenced by environmental, on-board, and commercial factors, which presents both opportunities and challenges to decision makers.

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Open reference in new window "A Comeback of Wind Power in Shipping: an Economic and Operational Review on the Wind-assisted Ship Propulsion Technology"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.125849 

Abstract: The maritime sector is a key asset for the world economy, but its environmental impact represents a major concern. The sector is primarily supplied with Heavy Fuel Oil, which results in high pollutant emissions. The sector has set targets for deacrbonisation, and alternative fuels have been identified as a short-to medium-term option. The paper addresses the complexity related to the activities of the maritime industry, and discusses the possible contribution of alternative fuels. A sector segmentation is proposed to define the consumption of each sub-segment, so to compare it with the current alternative fuel availability at European level. The paper shows that costs and GHG savings are fundamental enablers for the uptake of alternative fuels, but other aspects are also crucial: technical maturity, safety regulation, expertise needed, etc. The demand for alternative fuels has to be supported by an existing, reliable infrastructure, and this is not yet the case for many solutions (i.e. electricity, hydrogen or methanol). Various options are already available for maritime sector, but the future mix of fuels used will depend on technology improvements, availability, costs and the real potential for GHG emissions reduction.

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Open reference in new window "Potential and limiting factors in the use of alternative fuels in the European maritime sector"

DOI: 10.1007/s10869-019-09633-y 

Abstract: Although authentic leadership has been shown to inform a host of positive outcomes at work, the literature has dedicated little attention to identifying its personal antecedents and effective means to enhance it. Building on strong theoretical links and initial evidence, we propose mindfulness as a predictor of authentic leadership. In 2 multi-source field studies (cross-sectional and experimental), we investigated (a) the role of leaders’ trait mindfulness and (b) the effectiveness of a low-dose mindfulness intervention for perceptions of authentic leadership. The results of both studies confirmed a positive relation between leaders’ trait mindfulness and authentic leadership as rated by both followers and leaders. Moreover, the results of study 2 showed that the intervention increased authentic leadership via gains in leaders’ mindfulness, as perceived by both followers and leaders. In addition, we found that the intervention positively extended to followers’ work attitudes via authentic leadership. The paper concludes with a discussion of the study’s implications for leadership theory and leader development. Amidst the public’s growing dissatisfaction with business executives, stemming from organizational malpractice and leadership failure, researchers and practitioners have increased their focus on alternative leadership approaches that allow to operate in line with values while still meeting the prescribed performance standards (Gardner, Cogliser, Davis, & Dickens, 2011; Kinsler, 2014). Many see authentic leadership as the prototype of such an alternative approach—a kind of “root concept” that forms the basis for other positive leadership behaviors like transformational or ethical leadership (e.g., Ilies, Morgeson, & Nahrgang, 2005). Stemming from the Greek word authentikós (meaning real), authentic leadership has been defined via four core dimensions focusing on self-awareness, a trustful relationship with followers where one is able to share one's true thoughts and feelings, open and unbiased processing, and strong moral values and congruency of actions (Gardner et al., 2011; Neider & Schriesheim, 2011). Authentic leadership has been shown to have benefits for followers’ job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behaviors, justice perceptions, and task, group, and organizational performance (Banks, McCauley, Gardner, & Guler, 2016; Hoch, Bommer, Dulebohn, & Wu, 2018; Schuh, Zheng, Xin, & Fernandez, 2017). Although this evidence is well-established, organizational scholars surprisingly still focus more on the outcomes and mechanisms of authentic leadership (Gardner et al., 2011) rather than on how to foster it. To date, there is scarce research on the personal antecedents of authentic leadership and thus few answers about how to develop appropriate trainings. Addressing this question is of great practical importance, as organizations need guidance in how to hire and train leaders who can act and lead in an authentic way (Cooper, Scandura, & Schriesheim, 2005). As noted by Avolio and Walumbwa (2014), “the practice community has certainly responded to this need by offering a growing number of training programs” but these efforts are often “premature” and likely to “end up on the junk heap” if the concept of authentic leadership and the associated training efforts are not researched and validated in a scientifically rigorous way (p. 334). Thus, it is crucial to start testing training methods in order to offer evidence-based advice on how to improve and sustain authentic leadership. Authentic leadership is not a specific leadership style per se, but rather an integral part of a leader’s way of being (Cooper et al., 2005; Gardner et al., 2011). Authentic leadership training, thus, requires a holistic approach that accounts for the whole person: one's individual character, values, and preferences. Traditional leadership trainings focusing merely on a specific set of skills (e.g., goal setting or intellectual stimulation; Barling, Weber, & Kelloway, 1996; Dvir, Eden, Avolio, & Shamir, 2002) will fall short in this case. In addition, training leaders to behave in a standardized, presumably ideal, way (e.g., using images and metaphors in a speech; Antonakis, Fenley, & Liechti, 2011; Emrich, Brower, Feldman, & Garland, 2001; Naidoo & Lord, 2008) without considering if this behavior is congruent or incongruent with a person’s character or values, may increase the chance that both, leaders themselves and followers, perceive the trained behavior as inauthentic. Therefore, an effective approach to increase authentic leadership will necessarily protect and even promote each individual’s “true core”. It will help individuals to find out who they really are, what they stand for, and how they can communicate that in an honest and transparent way to build meaningful relationships with followers. One factor that has been theorized to show a strong conceptual link to authentic leadership is mindfulness (e.g., Kinsler, 2014; Reb, Sim, Chintakananda, & Bhave, 2015). Being mindful means paying attention to present-moment experiences in a receptive and non-judgmental way (Bishop et al., 2004; Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007). In the present work, we treat mindfulness as a personal antecedent to and a holistic means (Amaro, 2015; Gause & Coholic, 2010) of training authentic leadership. Mindfulness promotes authenticity by allowing self-discovery and self-awareness, leading to more self-concordant goal setting (Kinsler, 2014) and the identification of one’s strengths and weaknesses (Brown & Ryan, 2003). For example, instead of pretending to be the charismatic, confident, or inspiring leader that they do not perceive themselves to be, leaders may learn to be more attentive and accepting of their true self . By being mindful, those leaders may be able to effectively communicate their needs (e.g., their desire to “stick to the facts”) to subordinates, thereby increasing authenticity and avoiding misunderstanding. In short, mindfulness has the potential to promote an authentic way of being and has consistently shown to be malleable (Eberth & Sedlmeier, 2012; Lomas et al., 2017). In two studies—a multi-source cross-sectional survey study (study 1) and a multi-source field experiment (study 2)—we tested (a) whether leaders’ trait mindfulness is related to follower- and leader-rated authentic leadership (study 1 and study 2) and (b) if a mindfulness intervention is able to causally impact leaders’ level of mindfulness and, in turn, their authentic leadership behavior (as perceived by themselves and their subordinates). Furthermore, we tested (c) whether that change also extends to followers’ job attitudes, such as job satisfaction and interpersonal justice perceptions (study 2). A recent review on the outcomes of mindfulness and meditation interventions for managers and leaders (Donaldson-Feilder, Lewis, & Yarker, 2018) offers initial evidence that mindfulness interventions may improve aspects of leaders’ well-being and leadership capability. However, the review also highlighted a number of shortcomings among extant intervention studies, including poor research designs that lack internal validity (e.g., no control groups or quasi-experimental studies) and the omission of follower outcomes. Furthermore, none of the included studies provided outcomes for leaders’ direct reports or assessed whether mindfulness was the mechanism through which the intervention improved further outcomes. We addressed these concerns with two multi-source field studies, one of which is a rigorous, randomized, controlled experiment. Furthermore, we assessed whether mindfulness is in fact the mechanism through which the intervention’s effects are translated into leadership behavior and whether said effects extend to follower outcomes. In addressing the role of mindfulness for authentic leadership, our present work makes important contributions to the literature. Firstly, it adds to the authentic leadership literature by identifying a theoretically and practically meaningful antecedent of authentic leadership behavior, as well as an effective means of enhancing authentic leadership through training (e.g., Gardner et al., 2011; Kinsler, 2014). Secondly, it contributes to the literature on mindfulness in the work context (for a recent review, see Good et al., 2016). While there is an incipient body of research on the benefits of mindfulness for leadership behavior, extant studies have predominantly investigated the role of leaders’ trait mindfulness for other leadership approaches, such as transformational and abusive supervision or servant leadership (Liang et al., 2016; Pinck & Sonnentag, 2017; Pircher Verdorfer, 2016). Our focus on authentic leadership not only advances the behavioral outcome domain of leader trait mindfulness at work but also represents a straightforward and parsimonious approach to directly target the essence of positive leadership (Ilies et al., 2005). Additionally, by testing the effect of a mindfulness training, our study paves the way for future intervention studies that may target a range of additional (leader) behaviors at work. Thirdly, it adds to the nascent body of leadership development (Day, Fleenor, Atwater, Sturm, & McKee, 2014). While a few valuable trainings have been developed for transformational (Barling et al., 1996; Dvir et al., 2002) or charismatic leadership (Antonakis et al., 2011; Frese, Beimel, & Schoenborn, 2003), the literature still features few interventions that are theoretically meaningful and methodologically sound. Furthermore, there is practical value in identifying tools that organizations can use to promote mindfulness and, by extension, authentic leadership. Organizations with access to effective and affordable interventions may be able to shift focus from personnel selection (i.e., hiring mindful individuals) to personnel development (i.e., enhancing the mindfulness of any current employee or new hire), thereby targeting a much wider range of individuals.

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Open reference in new window "Be(com)ing real: A multi-source and an intervention study on mindfulness and authentic leadership"

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-018-4055-3 

Abstract: In the aftermath of various corporate scandals, management research and practice have taken great interest in ethical leadership. Ethical leadership is referred to as “normatively appropriate conduct” (Brown et al. in Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 97(2):117–134, 2005), but the prescriptive norms that actually underlie this understanding constitute an open question. We address this research gap by turning to relational models theory (Fiske in Structures of social life: the four elementary forms of human relations, Free Press, New York, 1991), which contextualizes four distinct moralities in four distinct interactional norms (i.e., the relational models). We expect that the norms inherent in each model dictate the type of leader relationship that followers deem ethical. Specifically, we hypothesize that, for each norm, followers will perceive leaders as less ethical the more discrepant, i.e., the more incongruent, followers’ ideal relational norm is with the perceived norm that they attribute to their actual leader–follower interaction. We tested the respective incongruence hypothesis in a cross-sectional survey of 101 Dutch employees. Polynomial regression and surface response analyses provide support for the hypothesized incongruence effects in each of the four relational models, suggesting that normatively appropriate conduct should not be limited to caring (i.e., community-oriented) behaviors. Indeed, all four relational models can predict ethical leadership perceptions. We discuss the implications in the context of ethical leadership research and managerial practice. (published online first)

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Open reference in new window "When do followers perceive their leaders as ethical? A relational models perspective to normatively appropriate conduct"

DOI: ../KLU publications current/doi.org/10.1111/jbl.12253 

Abstract: Despite the increasing academic interest and financial support for the Physical Internet (PI), surprisingly little is known about its operationalization and implementation. In this paper, we suggest studying the PI on the basis of the Digital Internet (DI), which is a well‐established entity. We propose a conceptual framework for the PI network using the DI as a starting point, and find that the PI network not only needs to solve the reachability problem, that is, how to route an item from A to B, but also must confront a more complicated optimality problem, that is, how to dynamically optimize a set of additional logistics‐related metrics such as cost, emissions and time for a shipment. These last issues are less critical for the DI and handled using relatively simpler procedures. Based on our conceptual framework, we then propose a simple network model using graph theory to support the operationalization of the PI. The model covers the characteristics of the PI raised in the current literature and suggests future directions for further quantitative analyses.

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Open reference in new window "From the Digital Internet to the Physical Internet: A Conceptual Framework with a Stylized Network Model"

DOI: 10.1080/03088839.2020.1737335 

Abstract: Innovation is identified as one of the main avenues to maintain competitiveness and its importance is well established in business studies. Along maritime logistics chains, innovation is being increasingly recognized as a determinant of success. However, beyond the naval architecture literature, little attention has been given to the role that innovation plays in maritime business. Notwithstanding the increasing number of innovation efforts that can be traced in the industry, little is known of the processes and mechanisms that make innovation successful, with the result that initiatives are often uncoordinated, unfocused, poorly managed, and do not deliver the expected results. In order to improve innovation processes, better insight is needed into what motivates innovation along maritime supply chains, in particular for ocean carriers, (inland) terminal operators, port managers, and hinterland transport operators. To this end, the paper proposes an index-based approach using data collected for 59 innovation cases to capture the degree of alignment between innovation strategy and outcomes in various maritime logistics business sectors. Substantial misalignment exists between company strategies and innovation success, and efforts should be made to improve the strategic processes that lead to collaborative innovation in maritime supply chains.

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Open reference in new window "Innovation in the maritime sector: aligning strategy with outcomes"

DOI: 10.1080/03088839.2020.1736354 

Abstract: Maritime ports play a pivotal role in facilitating trade, serving as key nodes in global transport chains. Competitive pressure exists for port managers and operators to search for ways to deliver consistent improvements in productivity and profitability. Additionally, external effects associated with port activities have been given more attention in recent years, thus favouring a holistic integration of sustainability into port planning and operations. In this process, factors driving ports to become more sustainable need to be examined. This study, which is based on a systematic review of literature published since 1987, synthesizes various research perspectives for corporate sustainability drivers in maritime ports using the lens of stakeholder theory. Thirty drivers of corporate sustainability were identified, classified into 10 main drivers and further grouped into five clusters, serving as the basis for development of a multi-stakeholder perspective. This study also discusses examples of actions taken by ports in response to perspectives of various stakeholders using selected case examples from existing literature. This study provides an understanding of how decisions for adopting corporate sustainability are motivated in ports according to a multi-stakeholder perspective, and highlights how ports have responded to shifts through developing and implementing sustainability strategies using global case examples.

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Open reference in new window "A review of corporate sustainability drivers in maritime ports: a multi-stakeholder perspective"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145504 

Abstract: Corporate Sustainability (CS) in the port sector has emerged as an important driver behind strategy definition for port authorities globally. It has been argued that CS practices have the potential of delivering value for port users and, as such, grant port operators and port managing entities competitive advantages. There is, however, limited evidence behind this claim. The difficulty with collecting such evidence is that we lack measures of port value creation, and CS metrics have rarely been developed and applied in ports. This paper provides a framework for collecting empirical evidence aimed at assessing in what way CS can benefit port competitiveness. The framework is built on a systematic literature analysis of the past years. The literature analysis exceeds previous comparable contributions by its analytical detail and provides valuable new insights on sustainability in the maritime domain. The research indicates that the accurate measurement of CS initiatives in the port sector is urgent and meaningful. When appropriately measured, the value that CS can deliver to port users becomes apparent. This is, however, often created indirectly via branding, risk mitigation, etc. The paper contributes to academic knowledge as it is the first to develop a rigorous CS measurement framework usable for ports in terms of value.

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Open reference in new window "Value Creation through Corporate Sustainability in the Port Sector: A Structured Literature Analysis"

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118516 

Abstract: Scientific conferences are a widely established and a highly important and an indispensable component for knowledge sharing, networking activities, scientific debate etc. What is usually ignored is the resource demand of such an event, putting an enormous burden on the environment. For almost two decades now, there has been an increasing demand for mitigation of environmental impacts of scientific conferences. However, in the field of sustainability science hardly any measures have been taken as only one out of ten sustainability conferences promoted action to reduce environmental impacts. A comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has not been carried out for all phases of a conference. This study therefore strives to conduct a comprehensive LCA of a scientific conference held on sustainability topics. The assessment includes three main parts: 1) preparation of the conference, 2) conference execution, and 3) further pre-/post-conference activities (participants’ travel associated with the conference). The functional unit is defined as: Holding one 3-day international academic conference on sustainability topics. The results display that travel activities of participants dominantly contribute to the overall environmental impact. Further relevant phases are catering, hotel overnight stays as well as environmental burdens associated with the conference venue. It was found that the conference under consideration leaves a carbon footprint of 455 tonnes of CO2 eq., equivalent to an average of 0.57 tonnes of CO2 eq. per participant. A scenario analysis displayed that changes towards train travelling, vegetarian meals and reduction of conference materials can significantly better the environmental profile of a conference. Further measures of environmental optimization could be identified, e.g. digital meetings. It is however unlikely that those will totally replace physical meetings. The social benefits of direct personal and globally-oriented exchange can probably not be outweighed by environmental savings. Future conference planning should thus relate the sustainability benefits with the detrimental impacts.

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Open reference in new window "How sustainable are sustainability conferences? - Comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment of an international conference series in Europe"