Comparative carbon auditing of conventional and online retail supply chains: A review of methodological issues

Julia Edwards, Alan McKinnon, Sharon Cullinane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper seeks to examine the various stages in online and conventional retail supply chains in order to assess their relative environmental impacts. With reference to boundary issues, utilisation factors and carbon allocation, it seeks to highlight some of the difficulties in establishing a robust carbon auditing methodology. Design/methodology/approach: Auditing issues are considered from the point of divergence in the respective supply chains (downstream of this point a product is destined either for conventional or online retailing channels, and will receive different treatment accordingly). Findings: The paper explores methodological issues associated with carbon auditing conventional and online retail channels. Having highlighted the problems, it suggests resolutions to these issues. Research limitations/implications: The paper is mostly conceptual in nature. Practical implications: The approach outlined in this paper, once applied, allows the identification of inefficiencies in the respective retail supply chains. Originality/value: The paper is the first to discuss carbon auditing in relation to upstream supply chain analysis for both conventional and online retail channels. Previous work has tended to focus on the last mile delivery. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalSupply Chain Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Auditing
  • Environmental management
  • Retailing
  • Supply chain management


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