Few people have any sense of the complexity, transport-intensity, environmental impact and social costs of modern supply chains, says Prof Alan McKinnon
Samanth Subramanian argues that “the great trick of online retail has been to get us to do more shopping while thinking less about it – thinking less, in particular, about how our purchases reach our homes” (Deliver us, 21 November). But consumers have never taken much interest in where stuff comes from or how it is delivered. In a survey of UK adults back in 2009, only 14% claimed to have “some knowledge” of the “role of logistics in the economy”. When logistics works, which is most of the time, it is taken for granted and ignored. As a result, few people have any sense of the complexity, transport-intensity, environmental impact and social costs of modern supply chains, not just on the “last mile” but all the way back to the raw material source. Greater public awareness of distribution systems upstream of the home and shop could help to promote more sustainable patterns of consumption and more informed debate on subjects such as Brexit, climate change and the gig economy, all of which have an important logistical dimension.
Prof Alan McKinnon
Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany
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Source: Guardian GiG Economy