What is it about?

The Courier, Express and Parcel (CEP) industry has a substantial footprint on the environment. Logistics, being the backbone of CEP, plays a key role in this environmental footprint. Green logistics, which also requires consumer participation, can solve this problem. China is the world leader in the CEP industry. However, the willingness of consumers in general, and particularly Chinese consumers, to participate in green logistics of CEP has not been thoroughly researched. This study fills this important research gap and conducts an online survey of 155 Chinese consumers from diverse demographics. The study also addresses some of the technical issues that arise in survey-based research and presents a statistical approach that is technically sound. Popular methods such as exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and multiple regression analysis are frequently misused in survey studies, particularly in the social sciences. This is demonstrated by presenting some recent survey studies that have been published in reputable journals. Three main factors were extracted after the data were tested for reliability and validity using exploratory factor analysis with principal axis factor extraction and confirmatory factor analysis with diagonally weighted least squares. Consumer willingness is positively correlated with economic (8 items), operational (3 items), and social (3 items) factors, with a statistical significance of p < 0.001. Of all the factors, the strongest correlation, 0.67 (95 % CI = 0.57, 0.75; p < 0.001; N = 155), exists between economic factors and consumer willingness. The results of a multinomial logistic regression analysis suggest that all consumers are highly unlikely to participate in economic factors, while they are highly likely to positively commit to operational and social factors.

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Why is it important?

Without developing a deep understanding of the relevant factors in consumers’ willingness to participate in the CEP industry’s green logistics, the industry’s competitive integration of green logistics may not be possible. However, in practice, Chinese consumer participation in green logistics is relatively low, while the green product market is not competitive and is confined to a few niche consumers. Therefore, to promote it, it is necessary to analyse and address the consumers’ specific reasons for not actively participating in the CEP industry's green logistics. This understanding can, in turn, help improve pricing, taxation, and other incentive policies to increase consumer willingness to engage in green logistics in China's CEP industry. Besides government policy making, the role of the CEP industry in prompting consumer green logistics awareness and willingness (or positive attitude) cannot be ignored because, ultimately, the cost of green logistics is either paid by the industry or is transferred to the final consumers in terms of higher prices. Consequently, it is critical for the CEP industry to first understand the key socioeconomic factors that directly or indirectly impact consumer willingness towards green logistics, before concerted efforts are made to promote consumer green behaviour and overcome the consumer concerns or hurdles that negatively impact consumer willingness to participate in the CEP industry's green logistics.

Perspectives

The study can help devise a win-win strategy for the adoption of green logistics by the CEP industry, generally, and for the Chinese CEP industry, particularly, can be devised. All key stakeholders in CEP companies’ green logistics, such as environmental policymakers (government), the CEP industry, and CEP consumers, can gain various benefits.

Dr. Muhammad Jawad Sajid
Xuzhou Institute of Technology

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This page is a summary of: A methodologically sound survey of Chinese consumers’ willingness to participate in courier, express, and parcel companies’ green logistics, PLoS ONE, July 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0255532.
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