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Investigating green supply chain management practices and performance: The moderating roles of supply chain ecocentricity and traceability

Paul D. Cousins (School of Management, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK)
Benn Lawson (Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Kenneth J. Petersen (Michael F. Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)
Brian Fugate (Department of Supply Chain Management, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 10 July 2019

Issue publication date: 7 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainable supply chain management has become an increasingly important driver of business performance. Understanding the contingent nature of how performance is improved in this context is therefore a critical task for management. The purpose of this paper is to explore the moderating effects of two practices unique to sustainable supply chain – ecocentricity and supply chain traceability – on a firm’s environmental and operating cost performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 248 UK manufacturing firms and analyzed using moderated hierarchical regression.

Findings

The results suggest that green supply chain management (GSCM) practices are associated with improvements in both environmental and cost-based performance. Further, higher levels of ecocentricity and supply chain traceability are associated with stronger relationships between GSCM practices and cost performance. Contrary to expectations, high levels of supply chain traceability were found to negatively moderate the relationship between GSCM practices and environmental performance.

Research limitations/implications

The research design was survey-based and cross-sectional. Future studies would benefit from longitudinal research designs that capture the effects of GSCM practices on performance over an extended period. The survey data is also perceptual; using secondary data to capture environmental performance outcomes, for example, would be another opportunity for future research.

Practical implications

The authors provide additional support to findings that GSCM practices benefit both environmental and cost performance dimensions. In this context, the authors show that investments by firms in working with a broader set of eco-system partners (ecocentricity) and building supply chain traceability and leads to improved environmental sustainability outcomes. The authors encourage managers to carefully consider how they conceptualize and monitor their supply chains.

Originality/value

This paper offers several contributions to the research in this area. First, the authors develop and validate a measurement scale for ecocentricity and supply chain traceability. Second, the authors show how these two variables – unique to sustainable supply chains – can positively influence firm and environmental performance.

Keywords

Citation

Cousins, P.D., Lawson, B., Petersen, K.J. and Fugate, B. (2019), "Investigating green supply chain management practices and performance: The moderating roles of supply chain ecocentricity and traceability", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 39 No. 5, pp. 767-786. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-11-2018-0676

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited