Green Supply Chain Management in Chinese Electronic Manufacturing Organisations: An Analysis of Senior Managements' Perceptions

Green Supply Chain Management in Chinese Electronic Manufacturing Organisations: An Analysis of Senior Managements' Perceptions

Eoin Plant (Business School, University of South Wales, Treforest, UK), Yusen Xu (Business School, University of South Wales, Treforest, UK) and Gareth R.T. White (Business School, University of South Wales, Treforest, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSESD.2015070102
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Abstract

Green supply chain management and reverse logistics has emerged as a key area of research interest. Recent environmental regulations have also stimulated interest in this field. However, information sharing is a prerequisite to efficient and effective logistics utilisation. Manufacturing organisations in China were argued to be 10-20 years behind their Western counterparts in relation to information sharing in their supply chains (). This barrier needs to be addressed if China is going to maintain and grow its manufacturing position in the world, attempt to address green supply chain issues and their negative externalities. A systematic literature review was undertaken and green supply chain management theoretical framework adopted. The paper explores the perceptions of senior management toward green logistics and information sharing in Chinese electronic manufacturers. Previous research has concentrated on the focal companies (brand owners). This research concentrated on SME organisations further up the supply chain. Semi-structured interviews of eighteen senior managers of electronic manufactures in Jiangsu province China were conducted in 2012. Thematic analysis is applied and the findings contrasted to other research. The paper provides insight to the current status of managers' views on information sharing and green supply chain initiatives. Information platform, skills, investment, and trust emerged as key influences on their willing to engage in information sharing in relation to green supply chains. This research, among others, assists to inform policy for optimal evidence based intervention. Future research directions are also considered.
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Introduction

The green agenda has become increasingly important to society and many organisations in Western developed countries (Brundtland, 1987). Customers of international manufacturers are increasingly demanding higher green credentials from their suppliers (White et al, 2010).

Christmann and Taylor (2001) argue that export and sales to foreign customers are key drivers for improving the environmental performance of enterprises in China. A number of countries, such as Japan, the United States, Norway, and France put forward different environmental requirements for the goods imported from China (Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of PRC, 2002). Recent changing environmental requirements Restrictions on Use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) affecting manufacturing operations are placing pressure on organisations in China to develop green supply chain management strategies.

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is defined by Lambert et al. (1998: 39) as,

The integration of key business processes from end user through original supplier that provides products, services, and information that add value for customers and other stakeholders.” while Lee (2008:186) expands upon this notion to include environmental aspects, defining a green supply chain as “the programs striving to transfer and disseminate environmental management, in particular advanced environmental management practices, through the entire supply chain, by using the relationships between large-sized buying firms and their suppliers.

Seuring and Muller (2008) argued that there was an increased need for co-operation between companies in sustainable supply chain management. Information sharing is essential for successful SCM (Aviv, 2001; Cachon and Fisher, 2000; Gaonkar and Viswanadham, 2001; Huang et al., 2002; Petrick and Echols, 2002) particularly in terms of managing material flow and reducing inventory costs (Zhang and Li, 2006). Furthermore, sharing the information can solve supply chain problems (Moberg et al., 2002; Siau and Tian, 2004; Zheng et al., 2000; Rainer and Turban, 2009). It is also a prerequisite for developing commitment and trust between firms (Morgan and Hunt, 1994). Fisher (1997) observes that information sharing can improve the significant performance in all chain members while Lee and Kim (1999) conclude that quality information sharing can bring quality partnership.

To achieve co-operation, it is important to understand the antecedents that affect it. Cheng et al. (2008) found that trust was pivotal to green supply chains in Taiwan and that communication and co-operation were the antecedents of trust. Evidence exists that a gap exists between conceptual approaches and practices in green supply chain management. Collaborative partnerships were essential to implementing GSCM and that information sharing is a vital part of that. However, that important information is not necessarily communicated to key players in the supply chains.

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