Hierarchical impact of green supply chain initiatives on sustainable performance: the food and beverage processing SMEs in Australia

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Benjamin, Adeline Kemilembe (2020) Hierarchical impact of green supply chain initiatives on sustainable performance: the food and beverage processing SMEs in Australia. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


Environmental pollution remains a major concern, leading firms to take initiatives on greening the supply chain to reduce environmental impacts. In view of this, green supply chain management (GSCM) initiatives have emerged as a competitive priority at the intersection of sustainability, environmental management and supply chain management literature. GSCM can be defined as consolidation of environmental thinking and supply chain management incorporating product design, material sourcing and selection, manufacturing operations, delivery of the final product to the consumer, and end-of-life handling of the product. The literature so far has been inconclusive regarding the relationship between green supply chain initiatives (GSCIs) and sustainable performance. Given that operations have gone from local optimisation of environmental management at firm level to regional supply chain involving the production, shipment, consumption and end-of-life disposal of products, further investigation of this relationship is timely. In addition, the increasing concern of environmental sustainability – whether driven by government legislation, supplier pressure or customer requirement – is unknown, and warrants an investigation into the context of Australian food and beverage small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The SMEs in this sector are lagging behind in environmental practices partly due to limited resources and not able to realise the immediate return on investment. Institutional theory and Natural Resource Based View (NRBV) theory underpin this research. Institutional theory asserts that an organisation’s environmental initiatives are influenced by three external drivers; namely, coercive (regulatory), normative (customer) and mimetic (competitor) pressures. Regulations imposed on organisations, customers’ increased environmental knowledge, and the emulation of competitors’ successful green strategies have resulted in environmental alignment within organisations’ supply chain operations. NRBV theory argues that implementation of GSCIs and the adoption of green strategies help to improve firms’ performance and sustain their competitive advantage. The green strategies include pollution prevention, product stewardship and the sustainable development of clean technology. Any green strategies initiative and its implementation aims to minimise environmental pollution in the supply chain and gain a competitive advantage in the market. Drawing on the institutional theory and NRBV perspectives, the research therefore aims to investigate the hierarchical impact of GSCM initiatives on green performance and subsequently on economic and social performance. This research used a cross-sectional survey to collect data from SMEs in the food and beverage sector in Australia. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was employed to test the hypothesised relationship of the study variables in a conceptual framework. The SEM results reveal that GSCIs have a positive impact on green performance which, in turn, positively affects economic and social performance. Also, institutional pressures and green human resource management practices (GHRMPs) have a positive and significant effect on GSCIs. This research contributes to a theoretical and practical context. Theoretically, this study adds new insight to the literature by developing a comprehensive understanding of the hierarchical impact of green initiatives on environmental performance, which is influenced by institutional pressure and green human resource practices. Practically, managers can apply this framework to support their business strategies for sustainable performance.

Additional Information

Doctor of Business Administration

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/42167
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords green supply chain management; GSCM; green performance; small and medium enterprises; SMEs; food and beverage sector; Australia; Structural equation modelling; SEM
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