Gollagher, M. and Sarkis, J. (2010), "Special issue on environmental sustainability and industry: select papers from The 2007 Greening of Industry Network Conference", Management Research Review, Vol. 33 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/mrr.2010.02133daa.001Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Special issue on environmental sustainability and industry: select papers from The 2007 Greening of Industry Network Conference
Article Type: Editorial From: Management Research News, Volume 33, Issue 4.
About the Guest Editors
Margaret GollagherCurrently a Senior Consultant in sustainability with HAC Consultants. Prior to that, she was Principal Policy Adviser for Sustainability for the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure in Western Australia. Her PhD, undertaken at the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University, focused on Corporations and the Discourse of Sustainability. Her other research interests include urban and transport sustainability, deliberative democracy, networks for sustainability, the role of traditional, Indigenous and local knowledge in sustainability, and sustainable agriculture.
Joseph SarkisProfessor of Operations and Environmental Management within Clark University's Graduate School of Management. He has over 200 publications in a wide variety of outlets. He is currently an Editor of Management Research News and a Departmental Editor of IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. He is a 2008 AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellow.
On its website (www.greeningofindustry.org/), the Greening of Industry Network (GIN) is defined as “an international network of professionals from research, education, business, civil society organizations, and government, focusing on issues of industrial development, environment, and society, and dedicated to building a sustainable future.” Its mission is stated by: “The Greening of Industry Network develops knowledge and transforms practice to accelerate progress toward a sustainable society.”
Kurt Fischer and Johan Schot began organizing the GIN in 1989, before its official launch at the first conference, held in November 1991. Thus GIN represents one of the oldest inter-disciplinary and cross-institutional organizations focusing on the greening and sustainability of business. Today GIN is managed by an international group of three coordinators: an Americas Coordinator Kurt Fischer, of The George Perkins Marsh Research Institute at Clark University; an European Coordinator Theo de Bruijn, of the Center for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy – CSTM, at the University of Twente; and an Asia Coordinator, Somporn Kamolsiripichaiporn from Chulalongkorn University. Over the years GIN's conferences have been held on different continents to cater for the hundreds of members of the network around the world. The GIN is a vital presence in the global sustainability discourse.
This special issue focuses on the GIN 2007 Conference held at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. The thematic backdrop was Sustainable Ecosystem and Social Stewardship. It was attended, over three days, by over 120 delegates (thought leaders) from over 20 countries and five continents with a mixture of academic, governmental, industry, and non-governmental participants. It also had dozens of presentations on various topics ranging from emergent social sustainability topics such as “Bottom (base) of the Pyramid” to issues revolving around how transportation, energy, and finance in industry influence the environment. Issues relating to poverty, hunger, environment, technology, and economics were also discussed. Lively deliberation emerged from paper presentations, discussant panels, and guest keynote speakers.
In this special issue we invited some of the best papers from the conference to be considered for publication. After a review process that initially started with 20 papers, we selected five of exemplary quality, which appear as the first five papers in this special issue. Two additional peer reviewed papers were included in this special issue because they complement its particular focus on environmental sustainability and industry.
Overview of papers
Our first paper titled “Making or breaking environmental innovation? Technological change and innovation markets in the pulp and paper industry,” by Paula Kivimaa and Petrus Kautto, focuses on environmental innovation in an industry that has had a history of significant environmental burden. Using a number of cases focusing on bioenergy technologies within the pulp and paper industry, the authors show that strong external regulatory forces have provided the impetus for innovation. In conclusion, they focus on how national and organizational policies may need to be developed to coordinate with and complement these international forces. This study suggests that in addition to national and local institutional regulatory forces' impacts on managing organizational innovation, the concerns of international communities now seem to play a much larger role.
Nordic researchers Ari Paloviita and Vilma Luoma-aho move the focus from innovation to stakeholder theory and its influence on corporate environmental management in their paper titled “Recognizing definitive stakeholders in corporate environmental management.” Paloviita and Luoma-aho find that the range of stakeholders that influence corporate environmental management practices has shifted and expanded. No longer are pressure groups (non-governmental organizations and regulators) the only stakeholders that influence corporate greening practices. They conclude that stakeholders who have been typically perceived as economically focused, such as suppliers and customers, are now exerting pressure as environmentally concerned stakeholders. The authors provide a framework with which to evaluate these stakeholder pressures within the corporate greening research field.
The next paper of the special issue focuses on the efforts of the European ETIENNE – Effiziente Transportketten in Entsorgungsnetzwerken modular und umweltgerecht gestaltet (Efficient Transports Chains in Disposal Networks – Unitized and Ecologically Designed) project. This paper titled “Decision making for transportation systems as a support for sustainable stewardship: freight transport process evaluation using the ETIENNE-Tool” is by Edeltraud Guenther and Vera Greschner Farkavcova. This project and tool were designed to help improve the environmental sustainability of transportation, an aim in keeping with the key theme areas addressed at the GIN conference. Initially, the research team found that few if any tools exist to help organizations manage their transportation decisions. Therefore they developed the ETIENNE-tool to be applied to improve the environmental sustainability of organizational tasks, including the selection and planning of transportation relations; employment of means of transportation; planning of locations; and performing business operations. The tool can effectively be used for benchmarking the transportation performance across transportation chains and to support short-term and long-term organizational planning. Examples are provided within this paper.
The fourth paper in this special issue is once again co-authored by Edeltraud Guenther and Vera Greschner Farkavcova, but they bring in another colleague, Lilly Scheibe, to round out their expertise for this paper. In an explorative study on green procurement the researchers used a sample of companies from the German Association of Materials Management, Purchasing, and Logistics (AMMPL) to assess hurdles and barriers to sustainability felt by these organizations. Their results appear in this paper titled “‘The Hurdles Analysis’ as an instrument for improving sustainable stewardship.” The authors arrive at the conclusion that hurdles to green procurement exist, that companies have to address if they are to improve their environmental performance. The paper provides strategies for companies to handle and overcome such hurdles and to provide a basis for further in-depth research on this topic.
The final paper in this special issue that was presented at the GIN Conference is authored by Michael Søgaard Jørgensen, Ulrik Jørgensen, Kåre Hendriksen, Stig Hirsbak, Henrik Holmlund Thomsen, and Nils Thorsen. This paper titled “Environmental management in Danish transnational textile product chains” focuses on efforts within Danish organizations to introduce environmental issues into their international supply chains. Their investigation focuses on companies that complete their business in locations with less stringent environmental regulatory policies. Using 13 case study companies, they identified a wide variety of practices and motivations for various environmental practices across their supply chains. Even though this study involved a relatively small sample, the longitudinal characteristics of this study provide important insights into the evolving organizational strategies.
To further the discussion and insights on inter-organizational environmental supply chain management we have included a manuscript titled “Green supply chain management in leading manufacturers: case studies in Japanese large companies,” and authored by Qinghua Zhu, Yong Geng, Tsuyoshi Fujita, and Shizuka Hashimoto. Although the first five papers in this special issue have some international flavor to them, the research was completed within European countries. This paper expands the debate by introducing some Asian, Japanese, and Chinese perspectives on environmental supply chain management. In this comprehensive study of nine major Japanese companies, similarities and differences in practices were found between these companies and previous research on Chinese companies. Their cross-country findings showed that on most factors Japanese companies were similar to Chinese organizations except for internal environmental management practices, where they were well ahead in implementation. The relative relationships show that international environmental supply chains can effectively get to similar levels of implementation by using the supply chain as a diffusion mechanism for sustainable practices.
Our final and seventh paper in this special issue is co-authored by American researchers Bruce Clemens and Lynn Bakstran. Their paper titled “A framework of theoretical lenses and strategic purposes to describe relationships among firm environmental strategy, financial performance, and environmental performance” changes the pace by focusing on furthering theory from a conceptual basis. The results of their work could effectively summarize many of the issues found in the previous papers, including theoretical reasons for implementing and adopting certain environmental practices and potential performance outcomes. Primarily the authors focus on two theoretical lenses (strategic choice and the resource-based view) and two strategic purposes (stakeholder and shareholder). The paper argues that the type of theoretical lens and strategic purpose will influence the way three key constructs (firm environmental strategy, financial performance, and environmental performance) are arranged. They arrive at a parsimonious matrix to help define the way firm environmental strategy, financial performance, and environmental performance are arranged.
As seen from this research there are many approaches to investigating the relationship between environmental sustainability and business. Significant work has been completed in this area over the past couple of decades, and the level and scope of research providing new insights, theory, and practice is likely to increase substantially as GIN enters its third decade. We note that this work is not relegated to one country or region of the world, but requires an international effort.
We wish to thank the GIN coordinators for entrusting us with this special issue and for the dozens of reviewers from all over the world who helped us with the review process.
Margaret Gollagher and Joseph SarkisGuest Editors