Research Projects / 2010–Present
NormTooTrans (2019- )
The INTERTRAN group is currently working on a research plan as a transdisciplinary Consortium based at the Universities of Helsinki and Turku. It concentrates on possible regulatory means that could increase the triple-bottom-line (TBL) sustainability of global freight transport – an important and increasing source of, e.g. emissions. Drawing on behavioral insight, we examine which regulatory tools could leverage most effective behavioral change among all freight transport stakeholders towards greater and more holistic sustainability built on TBL sustainability. We are also interested in how stakeholders would be affected by these changes. Our contextual research applies empirical research to analyze how the present regulatory framework operates and how it could be improved builds on a novel approach bringing together law, logistics and economics & management to examine freight transport sustainability more holistically than before.
Integration of Transport in the Green Circular Economy (2016-2018)
The great global challenge, to which transport emission cutting targets of 60% of 1990 emissions by 2050, relate, is global sustainability, i.e., economic, social and environmental progress while staying within ecological planetary boundaries. The dilemma of maintaining competitiveness while starting to respect planetary boundaries has recently been approached with the idea of turning the EU market into a circular economy instead of a linear one. Despite the fact that transport is a huge emitter, transport as a service is not integrated in the circular economy project, but dealt with by separate policy instruments. The INTRACE project started on the note that that the current non-integrated EU approach to transport is not effective and cannot foster the kind of paradigm shift required for decreasing transport emissions, much less respect planetary boundaries. Different ways to combat this paradigm was topic of an international conference on Sustainable and Efficient Transport Systems – The Role of Transport in the Transformation to a Circular Economy organized by the INTERTRAN research group 20-21 April 2017 at the University of Helsinki.
The project resulted in several articles and a monograph: Ellen Eftestøl-Wilhelmsson, Suvi Sankari and Anu Bask (eds.) Sustainable and Efficient Transport: Incentives for Promoting a Green Transport Market (Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming 2019).
The InterTran research project (2010-2015)
The object of the InterTran research project was to analyse the EU policy goal of sustainable freight within the European Union from the point of view of private law and economical logistics. The project questioned the traditional private law approach, where environmental issues has been ignored as regards regulating the contract between the parties in private agreements. On the contrary, the idea of a contract has been to balance the interests of the parties. External arguments have only to a small degree been regarded valid. By proposing a regional legal instrument on intermodal transport (2005), the European Commission intended to utilize contract law as a tool to promote environmental issues. The idea was that a harmonized straight forward legal instrument on international inter- (or multi)modal transport will make the service more attractive for the users and therefore make the intermodal transport chain more competitive compared to the traditional unimodal transport. The research project examined the connection of the general discussion and the proposed provisions. A key question was whether “green” arguments are, or can be, visible in international transport law and particularly in the EU context. This was analyzed both regarding the task of the Freight Integrator as well as regarding the proposed liability regime. From a logistical perspective the main object was to evaluate whether or not the assumptions of the Commission on the need for a legal instrument was representative for the industry itself. Another key issue was whether sustainability is becoming a competitive advantage for the door-to-door or other service providers. A third key issue was the development of business models and service providers’ roles in the logistics service industry.
The project resulted in several articles, a special issue and a monograph.