Food Delivery Footprint: Addressing Transportation, Packaging, and Waste in the Food Supply Chain

Madeleine Pullman, Portland State University



Transportation of food accounts for a significant fraction of the carbon dioxide emissions believed to be adversely impacting climate and the environment. And this impact is increasing as food supply chains become longer and more complex, and food packaging requirements lead to increased waste. Many organizations such as hospitals and upper level education are becoming increasingly concerned about sustainability. In this study, college, university, and hospital food purchasing behavior were assessed using interviews, surveys, and modeling to evaluate the environmental implications of decisions regarding food transportation and packaging. Current purchasing practices, corresponding transportation modes, packaging, recycling, and waste removal were assessed for a representative sample of these institutions. The results of the study compare the most popular institutional purchasing practices for three product category’s carbon footprint. In addition, this study indicates that buyer-customer alignment, buyer-organization alignment, facility flexibility, and contract flexibility are positively related to sustainable practices, which are in turn positively related to a number of outcomes: food waste reduction, packaging reduction, and local/sustainable food increase in percentage of whole.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
March 19,2009
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2008
UTC Funding: