Green Logistics: Global Practices and their Implementation in Emerging Markets

Green Logistics: Global Practices and their Implementation in Emerging Markets

Marcus Thiell, Juan Pablo Soto Zuluaga, Juan Pablo Madiedo Montañez, Bart van Hoof
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-531-5.ch018
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This chapter presents a global overview of green logistics practices at various management levels and the inherent challenges of their implementation in emerging markets. It begins by clarifying the terminology and describing its scope and characteristics, and it continues with an analysis of the impact of green logistics on the creation of economic and social value.
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Introduction: Basics Of Green Logistics

The negative impact of business activities on the ecosystem (e.g. global warming and climatic disasters) gave rise to the formulation of various approaches for achieving sustainable methods of development. The Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as “a type of development that satisfies the current needs without reducing the availability and quality of resources to allow future generations of people to satisfy their needs (WCED 1987)”. In broad terms, the goal of sustainable development is to address growing concerns about environmental issues while simultaneously responding to socio-economic imperatives.

Companies around the world are feeling pressure to implement green practices into their value-creation systems. This pressure emanates from growing environmental awareness on the part of consumers in many countries, as well as increasing prices for raw materials and energy, environmental legislation, and influence exerted by dominant actors in the value chain (Fleischmann et al. 1997, Carter & Ellram 1998, Stock 2001, Ferguson & Browne 2001, Voigt & Thiell 2004, Kumar & Malegeant 2006, Seuring & Müller 2008).

The solutions that have been proposed and applied to respond to these trends cover entire value chains, from the reduction of raw material consumption and industrial contamination to cutting down on solid domestic residuals at the end-of-life of products and their reintegration into new value creating processes. Logistics activities encompass these processes due to the cross-functional and cross-organizational nature of logistics management (Wu & Dunn 1995).

There is widespread acknowledgement that logistics significantly affect the environment, producing the desired service on one hand and an unavoidable negative environmental impact on the other. For example, transportation is a logistics operation that has substantial impact on the environment. CO2 emissions from vehicles, aircraft and vessels generate atmospheric contamination, often considered one of the main causes of the global warming effect threatening the world today (Berntsen & Fuglestvedt 2008). Thus, green logistics becomes a key component in achieving sustainable management.

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