Green supply chain management

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Green supply chain management

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Title: Green supply chain management
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Author: Middelboe, Sian
Abstract: Limiting environmental footprint is a major challenge the global market place faces over the coming years and companies are stepping up their environmental programs. Worldwide, organisations are increasingly adopting the concept of GrSCM, leading to ways of incorporating green policies throughout the various stages of the Supply Chain. Indeed, several firms in mature industries have based large parts of their strategies on green initiatives. The assumption made by companies, who employ GrSCM is that it can create value and enable differentiation from competitors, which may allow for the creation of competitive advantage. This study was undertaken with the aim of providing a deeper insight and extending the existing knowledge regarding GrSCM in the Danish transportation and logistics industry. In order to achieve the research aim, a qualitative multiple case study approach was undertaken in attempt to analyse the views and perceptions within the industry. Primary research was conducted through semi‐structured interviews from a selection of 11 companies. The existing literature was examined to give context to the work. The literature and the interviews suggested that the lack of knowledge force large challenges upon the companies in the process of implementing the concept. The empirical analysis identified substantial differences in how GrSCM is prioritized among companies in transport and logistics industry, but generally the concept is not a big concern. The empirical study suggests that the concept is not perceived as a competition parameter by a large part of the respondents. Certainly this was a topic of debate in the literature representing two schools of thought discussing the relation and compatibleness between economic development of a firm and green initiatives. The two schools of thought were both evident in the empirical analysis. Particularly evident incoherence between the levels perceived by companies and the levels actually obtained. A large part of the companies believed that they had both a green strategy and a green concept. For several, the analysis however, proved otherwise. The opportunities of employing GrSCM were apparent in the findings. Indeed, the empirical research findings confirmed that it can be advantageous to do so. The values of the concept proved necessary, but not always sufficient when seeking differentiation and cost advantages. Through RBV and the Positioning School, the analysis showed that the concept specific competences and knowledge that cannot easily be replicated is created in the links between the operators in the given supply chain. In order to achieve economic rents over average over time and obtain sustainable competitive advantage, these relations have to be long term in scope. This may prove difficult for those operators working arm’s length contracts. However, if achieved, the study confirms that the concept can permit sustainable competitive advantage by enabling reductions of waste, emissions and consumption that can allow for cost advantages over competitors over time. Also, the study concludes that the concept can enable differentiation from competitors, where transportation buyers are willing to pay a premium for the greener solution. Indeed, the study identifies lucrative opportunities connected to the concept in the industry. The explorative study also highlights additional complexities of GrSCM in the Danish transportation and logistics industry that warrant further examination.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10417/514
Date: 2009-09-04
Pages: 69 s.
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