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Environmental retail supply chains: when global Goliaths become environmental Davids

Herbert Kotzab (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark and Caledonian Business School, Glasgow University, Glasgow, UK)
Hilde M. Munch (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Brigitte de Faultrier (ESSCA School of Management, LUNAM, Angers, France)
Christoph Teller (Institute for Retail Studies, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 19 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a scale that evaluates the environmental elements in retail supply chains and to examine the environmental supply chain management initiatives of the world's largest 100 retailing companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical evaluation has been undertaken through an investigative approach applying a web‐scan framework which included the analysis of web sites and publicly published documents such as annual reports and corporate social responsibility reports.

Findings

The authors identified 34 environmental sustainability initiatives which were grouped into eight categories; they refer to “fundamental environmental attitude”, “use of energy”, “use of input material”, “product”, “packaging”, “transport”, “consumption” and “waste”. The level of environmental supply chain management can be characterised as very operational and very short‐term oriented (green operations). Long‐term oriented green design initiatives were hardly observed. Furthermore, the specific environmental activities of three retailers from Denmark, France and the UK were compared.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical study investigates supply chain operations of retailers and excludes other areas of retail management. The results are based on material that is published by the respective companies and thus do not include internal reports.

Originality/value

The main contribution of this paper is to test the proposition that global retailers follow the path of the “Greening Goliaths”, where environmental sustainability becomes a quasi industry standard for the ecological sustainability transformation of global retailing.

Keywords

Citation

Kotzab, H., Munch, H.M., de Faultrier, B. and Teller, C. (2011), "Environmental retail supply chains: when global Goliaths become environmental Davids", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 39 No. 9, pp. 658-681. https://doi.org/10.1108/09590551111159332

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited