Green Supply Chain Management

Nowadays an increasing number of organizations take into account environmental,
social and economic concerns during their operations to meet the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
needs. The definition of green supply chain management according to Seuring and
Muller (2008, p. 1700) is the “management of 
material, information and capital flows as well as cooperation among
companies along the supply chain while taking goals from all three dimensions
of sustainable development, i.e., economic, environmental and social, into
account which are derived from customer and stakeholder requirements”. The adaptation
of green supply chain practices can be driven by external and internal factors
in SMEs. External factors are environmental regulations and incentives imposed
by governments, increasing pressure from supply chain partners and customers
that demand more environmentally-friendly products. Internal motivators can be
linked to personal beliefs and commitment of leaders, environmental responsibility
and the desire to improve overall performance. The implementation of green
supply chain practices could result in competitive advantage for us, as well as
enhance our reputation, reduce production costs and improve our profitability.

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The importance of green practices for SMEs

SMEs tend have the view
that that their ecological footprint is not significant but considering the
number of SMEs worldwide their impact is quite large. According to Parker et al.
(2009 cited in Ashton et al., 2017) SMEs are responsible for 60 percent of carbon
dioxide and 70 percent of all industrially pollution globally that highlight
the importance of the implementation of green practices. We should consider sustainability
not just as financial driver but a practice that can increase market share, competitiveness,
product differentiation and green brand image (Agan et al., 2013 cited in
Gandhi, 2017). To adapt sustainability practices and minimize environmental effect
we as a shoe manufacturer should to take into account the entire product life
cycle of our products that includes the choice of raw materials, technology, product
methods, packaging, distribution and reverse logistics of end products.

 

Challenges to implement green practices

The implementation of green practices in our SME includes numerous challenges
that might occur during our day-to-day business operations. The scarcity of
financial resources, skilled workers, and technical know-how might slow down
the adaptation in comparison to large enterprises but I strongly believe it would
move forward our business. On one hand, the adaptation requires large amount of
investment but in turn we can gain significant benefits. We could increase the
marketability of our shoes, grow our sales and profitability, as well as enhance
our brand reputation and customer satisfaction. Furthermore the implementation might
result in incentives from the government, better relationship with authorities
and stakeholders.