Green Reverse Logistics

Topics: Sustainability, Lean manufacturing, Case study Pages: 32 (10915 words) Published: May 19, 2013


Influence of Green and Lean Upstream Supply Chain Management Practices on Business Sustainability Susana G. Azevedo, Helena Carvalho, Susana Duarte, and V. Cruz-Machado Abstract—Green and lean paradigms have been adopted by companies in order to manage their relationships with suppliers in a supply chain management context, but nearly always separately and with little understanding of their influence on company performance. This paper proposes a theoretical framework for the analysis of the influence of green and lean upstream supply chain management practices on the sustainable development of businesses. To attend this objective, a set of performance measures covering economic (operational cost, environmental cost, and inventory cost), environmental (business wastage, green image, and CO2 emission), and social (corruption risk, supplier screening and local supplier) perspectives is proposed. An explanatory case study was conducted at a Portuguese automaker to test qualitatively the validity of the proposed theoretical framework. From the case study, a model is suggested, which encompasses the relationships between green and lean upstream supply chain practices and sustainable business development. Index Terms—Automotive industry, green and lean supply chain practices, performance measurement.

I. INTRODUCTION UPPLY chain management (SCM) promotes the integration between companies and their suppliers through the development of supplier partnerships and strategic alliances. Therefore, the set of practices selected to manage the relationships with suppliers, named by upstream supply chain (SC) practices, is a critical issue, since it affects companies and overall SC performance [1]. The recent prominence given to sustainability has made this issue more complex [2]. According to Seuring and Muller [3], any organization might be held responsible for the environmental and social performance of their suppliers. It is necessary to implement practices that not only promote company and overall SC efficiency, but also that focuses on social, economic, and environmental concerns.


Manuscript received July 18, 2011; revised November 20, 2011 and February 3, 2012; accepted February 16, 2012. Date of publication April 5, 2012; date of current version October 16, 2012. This work was supported by Fundacao para ¸˜ a Ciˆ ncia e Tecnologia through Project MIT-Pt/EDAM-IASC/0033/2008. The e work of H. Carvalho was supported by a PhD fellowship from Fundacao para ¸˜ a Ciˆ ncia e Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/43984/2008). The work of S. Duarte was e supported by a Ph.D. fellowship from Fundacao para a Ciˆ ncia e Tecnologia ¸˜ e (SFRH/BD/60969/2009). Review of this manuscript was arranged by Department Editor Q. Zhu. S. G. Azevedo is with the UNIDEMI, Department of Management and Economics, University of Beira Interior, 6200 Covilh˜ , Portugal (e-mail: a H. Carvalho, S. Duarte, and V. Cruz-Machado are with the UNIDEMI, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Faculdade de Ciˆncias e e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal (email:;; Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TEM.2012.2189108

The deployment of adequate upstream SCM practices becomes a crucial issue in businesses sustainability. Welford [4] arrived at this conclusion focused on a product stewardship strategy. According to this author, such a strategy is only possible if a company has the ability to integrate the perspectives of key external stakeholders, particularly suppliers, into decisions on product design and development. Smart [5] enhances the contribution of this strategy to businesses sustainability, arguing that product stewardship implies that companies are proactive in liaising with suppliers to minimize the SC environmental impact. Seuring and Muller [3] also highlighted the...
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