Green Freight Asia (A): Driving the Adoption of Sustainable Supply Chain Practices

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Green Freight Asia is a three-part case series featured in the 2014 APEX Business-IT Global Case Challenge. The case is best used for group projects or workshop assignments concerning business-IT related topics. In this case, students take on the role of a small firm pitching to collaborate with GFA on an IT solution partnership to support GFA’s programme for the adoption of green freight practices in the Asia Pacific region. The case could also be adapted for classroom facilitation with adequate preparation.

The first part, Green Freight Asia (A): Driving the Adoption of Sustainable Supply Chain Practices, chronicles the formation of Green Freight Asia (GFA), a private sector initiative that grew out of a network of companies that came together in 2011 to reduce air pollution and CO2 from road freight emissions in the Asia Pacific region. GFA’s primary goal was to incentivise the adoption of green freight practices by creating a label that recognised and rewarded companies for their commitment to improving fuel efficiency and reducing vehicle emissions.

In August 2013, GFA was formally incorporated as a Singapore-based not-for-profit organisation. Over the next seven months, the fledgling organisation developed the GFA Label programme. The programme established four levels of recognition, each represented by a logo with a corresponding number of Green Leafs. The criteria for earning the Leafs depended on whether the GFA member operated its own fleet of vehicles, used third-party fleets, or both.

By the time the structure of the GFA Label programme was finalised in March 2014, it had already attracted the interest of numerous shippers, freight carriers, and logistics service providers. However, GFA still lacked the necessary data management systems and processes to run the programme. For example, to earn a Green Leaf, a company had to report on having met certain pre-requisite criteria for that Leaf. This meant that GFA needed a mechanism to collect, verify and incorporate company reported data into the labelling programme. These operational elements were crucial to encouraging broad participation and establishing the credibility of the GFA Label.

To address this issue, in May 2014, Stephan Schablinski, the chief executive officer of GFA, sought potential partners to collaborate with GFA on a comprehensive IT solution for the programme. He was not interested in a typical IT services arrangement – in part because GFA lacked the financial resources to pay the development costs up front – but also he believed that working with GFA could provide ample business opportunities for a partner that was creative and entrepreneurial.

However, Schablinski was anxious. In just one week, the GFA Label Programme was due to be launched at the Green Freight Asia Spring Meeting. At that event, he intended to announce the IT solution partnership and commit to an aggressive target of growing GFA’s member base from nine to 200 companies operating in 10 countries within a year of launching the programme. Will a potential partner come forward with a realistic solution for a data management system in time for the meeting – and will that solution be enough to help GFA meet its goals?


Green Freight Asia, GFA, APEX, APEX Biz-IT, sustainable supply chain practice, sustainability, green freight, business model development, project management, project financing, partnerships, collaboration, data management, information systems, IT, business intelligence, marketing, stakeholder buy-in


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Management Information Systems | Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods | Marketing | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Operations and Supply Chain Management | Strategic Management Policy

Data Source

Field Research



Geographic Coverage

Singapore and Asia Pacific

Temporal Coverage


Education Level

Postgraduate; Undergraduate


Singapore Management University

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