chain research. Exactly, what is the green supply chain? After a brief discussion concerning thedefinition of supply chain management and green supply chains, the discussion and presentationof issues turns to our four defined areas. Some practices, research, and evolving issues arediscussed for each of them. Then, an integrative look at the whole system and common issueswill be presented. What the future may look like and some possible emerging debates will alsobe presented.
Supply Chains and Supply Chain Management
The concept of supply chains and supply chain management is a relatively recentmanagerial principle. The topic and field has evolved from a number sources includingpurchasing, marketing (distribution channels), logistics, and operations management. The issuesinclude management of inventory, customer-supplier relationships, delivery time, productdevelopment, and purchasing, just to name a few.A recent textbook on supply chain management (Handfield and Nichols, 1999) hasprovided the following definition for a supply chain:“The supply chain encompasses all activities associated with the flow and transformation of goods from raw materials (extraction), through the end user, as well as associated informationflows. Material and information flow both up and down the supply chain.” (pg. 2).In this description, the supply chain is considered to be a linear process. The circular andsystemic philosophy of “ecosystem” thinking (Shrivastava, 1995) is not explicitly included.Thus, from this textbook perspective, the integration of the full cyclical supply chain is notconsidered central to its definition. Few textbooks seem to diverge from this definition. Thissmall example is exemplary of common wisdom among this relatively new field. Developmentsin greening supply chains have yet to diffuse through the general literature. Even though this isrelatively anecdotal speculation, integration of greening supply chains into academic orpedagogical study has yet to be fully realized. Practice in this area seems to be as sporadic anddiverse as the field of study, with green supply chains poorly and/or erratically practiced andinvestigated.
Green Supply Chain Management – What is it?
“Green supply refers to the way in which innovations in supply chain management and industrialpurchasing may be considered in the context of the environment” (Green et al., 1996 188).