Green Practices in Supply Chain Management to Improve Sustainable Performance

Green Practices in Supply Chain Management to Improve Sustainable Performance

Rebeca B. Sánchez-Flores (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico), Samantha E. Cruz-Sotelo (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico), and Sara Ojeda-Benitez (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2173-1.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter presents an overview of current research on green practices said to improve global supply chain performance by driving the discussion into four main processes: sourcing, manufacturing, logistics, and customer service. Authors present the importance of sustainable development in supply chain management from environmental and green perspectives. The chapter undertakes a literature review on supply chain management, sustainable performance, and green supply chain. It continues with a discussion of green supply chain practices from different functions' perspectives, as strategic sustainable performance improvement and as a source of competitive advantage for business operations throughout the supply chain. Finally, this chapter identifies research gaps, discusses potential research directions for green supply chain management, and provides recommendations to expand on research to address the shortcomings of the existing literature.
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Introduction

In the last two decades, industrialization has contributed to environmental issues including decreased air quality, climate change, and air pollution-related problems (Khan, Zhang, Golpîra, & Dong, 2018). Additionally, customer pressure, governmental policies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), society, and industry itself have influenced organizations to implement green practices in their supply chain and business operations (Tebaldi, Bigliardi, & Bottani, 2018). Furthermore, increasing regulations and public awareness have motivated organizations to minimize economic, environmental and social risks in supply chains (Josef-Peter Schöggl, M. M. C. Fritz, & R. J. Baumgartner, 2016b).

The need for sustainable performance improvement in organizations has been accomplished through sustainable supply chains. Where a green supply chain (GSC) plays a key role in sustainability to improve performance (Silva, Gomes, & Sarkis, 2019), motivating organizations to implement green practices throughout each process involved in the procurement of materials, manufacturing, logistics including distribution and warehousing, and customer service as being part of the supply chain (Chopra, 2018). Therefore, green supply chain management (GSCM) has become a critical strategy for protecting and minimizing the supply chain operations negative impact on the environment (Boutkhoum, Hanine, Boukhriss, Agouti, & Tikniouine, 2016; Silva et al., 2019). Within this context, Khan and Dong (2017b) investigated the impact of green supply chain practices on manufacturing companies’ economic and environmental performance, and they found product eco-design, green purchasing of components and raw materials, green transportation and distribution, and cooperation with customers have a significant positive effect on environmental performance. On the other hand, Khan, Sharif, Golpîra, and Kumar (2019) investigated the relationship between green logistics practices, and sustainability in Asian emerging economies. The results suggested that logistics operations are positively related to income per capita, manufacturing added value and trade openness; nevertheless it has a negative impact on social and environmental concerns such as: climate change, global warming and carbon emissions. Their conclusion highlights the importance of green practices in improving a country economic, environmental and social performance. GSCM proposes to help manufacturing firms in their economic development, as well as their environmental and social commitments; while encouraging green practices and enhancing business performance (Yu, Golpîra, & Khan, 2018).

The first sustainable supply chain (SSC) investigations included topics such as green supply chain, the triple bottom line (TBL) and logistics operations (Ashby, Leat, & Hudson‐Smith, 2012), where suppliers’ involvement and other stakeholders’ participation stimulated sustainable development (Kashmanian, 2015). Additionally, the growth of supply chain competition, demand patterns changes, and stakeholders’ pressures have driven sustainable practices adoption (Gopal & Thakkar, 2016a). Furthermore, industry experts have expressed the need to increase the knowledge on SSC practices, as a source of competitive advantage for organizations (Jia, Diabat, & Mathiyazhagan, 2015). Even to compete between supply chains, demands the implementation of practices that will build and enhance performance, hence making imperative green sustainability at a supply chain level (S. Khan, Jian, Yu, Golpîra, & Kumar, 2019). Zhang, Golpîra, and Khan (2018) examined green practices and found their adoption in logistics and business operations as a source of opportunities for building competitive advantages against competitors.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Green Practices: Environmental friendly actions, which can help to environment protection and sustainability development.

Sustainability or Sustainable Development: An equilibrium or balance of priorities that may exist between social responsibility, environment care and economic viability, making sure needs are met and will constantly be met in the future.

Performance Improvement: Measurable development throughout business functions and key processes, focused on successfully achieving positive results.

Sustainable Practices: Actions carried on from an economic, social or environmental perspective to accomplish a specific result or benefit.

Supply Chain Management: The process of planning, organizing and control of demand and supply network operations to meet customer needs, and organizational goals.

Sustainable Supply Chain: The implementation and practice of economic, environmental and social aspect in all activities related to a supply chain, and where business processes are aligned to achieve sustainable development.

Competitive advantage: Superior characteristic versus competition, which customers values and is willing to pay for it.

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