Effects of Green Purchasing Strategies on Supplier Behaviour

Topics: Sustainability, Supply chain management, Environmentalism Pages: 18 (5496 words) Published: May 15, 2013
2 Effects of Green Purchasing Strategies on Supplier Behaviour Burton Hamner
Director, Cleaner Production International, Producer, http://www.CleanerProduction.Com, 5534 30th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 91805, wbhamner@cleanerproduction.com

Environmental management of purchasing and the supply chain (green purchasing) is now relatively common among larger companies and appears to be increasingly used as a corporate practice. For example, a 1995 survey of 1000 buyers of office equipment and supplies (Avery 1995) showed that 80% of respondents were taking part in environmental initiatives within their organisations. In 1993, just 40% of respondents responded this way (Avery 1995). Most readers will themselves know of organisations that are using environmental criteria of some sort in purchasing. The practice is becoming common enough that academic efforts are being made to develop typologies of motivations and strategies. Drumwright (1994) proposes a framework explaining why organizations engage in green purchasing. She differentiates organizations into two general categories. The first category holds organizations for which green purchasing is a deliberate outcome of articulated strategies of socially responsible behavior. In Type I organizations, green purchasing is an extension of the founder’s ideals. In Type II organizations, green purchasing is symbolic of the corporate mission. The second category holds organizations in which green purchasing is motivated by basic business reasons. Type III organizations see green purchasing as opportune, while Type IV organizations engage in it because of external restraints. Drumwright also proposes strategies for vendors who seek business from the four types of organizations. Other investigators have studied groups of companies to identify how they engage in green purchasing. Lamming and Hanson’s (1996) literature review and investigation of five major UK companies led them to propose five basic types of strategy used by companies for green purchasing: • • • • • Vendor questionnaires Use of environmental management systems Life-cycle assessment Product stewardship Collaboration and relationships


B. Hamner

Bowen et al. (Chapter 9 in this book) developed a more detailed categorisation of green purchasing strategies based on a survey of 24 business units in public UK companies: • • Product-based green supply: Participation in recycling initiatives that require cooperation with a supplier; Collaboration with a supplier to eliminate packaging; Efforts with suppliers to reduce waste. Greening the supply process: Building environmental criteria into the vendor assessment process; Use of a scoring system to rank suppliers on their environmental performance; Use of a supplier environmental questionnaire; Use of environmental criteria in the selection of strategic suppliers; Presentation of supplier environmental awards; Requiring suppliers to have an environmental management system; Advanced green supply: Use of environmental criteria in evaluation of buyer performance; Use of environmental criteria in risk-sharing and reward-sharing agreements; Participation in a joint clean technology programme with a supplier.

Lloyd (1994) proposed an even more general typology of purchasing strategies, with only two categories: • • External certification of suppliers Questionnaire and audit approach

The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) (see Chapter 3 of this book for details about this program ) has published an Environmental Selfassessment Programme which is based on principles established by the International Chamber of Commerce in its Business Charter for Sustainable Development (ICC, 1991). Principle 11 of the Charter asks signatories: To promote the adoptions of these principles by contractors acting on behalf of the enterprise, encouraging and, where appropriate, requiring improvements in their practices to make them consistent with those of the enterprise;...
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