Towards a Greener World : Examining Green Sourcing in Supply Chain Management
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this study is to explore green sourcing in supply chain management by the example of two large organisations. Design/methodology/approach – This study followed an iterative cycle of reviewing literature and empirics as well as conducting analysis and discussion. The literature gathered for this thesis was collected by reviewing ten academic journals as well as publications found through database search. Empirical data was collected from two case organisations, ABB Robotics and Vattenfall, through interviews, internal documents and public statements. The empirical data was analysed separately for each case organisation by use of an analytical model constructed from the literature findings. Thereafter, similarities and differences between the organisations were discussed as well as the thesis’ contributions to green sourcing literature. Findings – We found that although both ABB Robotics and Vattenfall incorporate environmental sustainability to some degree in their respective sourcing processes, their individual performance differed. The main difference between the organisations was found to be the visibility and managerial drive towards the realisation of environmental goals within the sourcing department. From our observations, it was found that Vattenfall to a large extent embraced their environmental goals and that these trickled down to the sourcing department. ABB Robotics on the other hand had numerous environmental goals on corporate level but these lacked visibility in the sourcing department. In comparison to our literature findings is was found that for environmental goals, Vattenfall was in more alignment with the suggestions by the scholars. For the other identified areas important for green sourcing, that being supplier assessment, supplier performance evaluation and supplier collaboration, both organisations were more aligned with our literature findings. Practical implications – In this thesis, four primary elements of green sourcing have been identified: environmental goals, supplier assessment, supplier performance evaluation, and supplier collaborations. Out of these, we found that the first element, environmental goals, is an enabler for the other elements of green sourcing to further evolve and is therefore essential for green sourcing. Originality/value – By looking beyond public statements and policies of environmental sustainability, this thesis has provided a unique insight in how two large organisations have implemented environmental sustainability in practice, from a sourcing perspective.
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