An empirical study of green supply chain management practices amongst UK manufacturers

Diane Holt, Abby Ghobadian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

289 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent and nature of greening the supply chain (SC) in the UK manufacturing sector; and the factors that influence the breadth and depth of this activity.

Design/methodology/approach: Based on the findings from a sample of manufacturing organisations drawn from the membership of The Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply. Data are collected using a questionnaire, piloted and pre-tested before distribution with responses from 60 manufacturing companies.

Findings: On average manufacturers perceive the greatest pressure to improve environmental performance through legislation and internal drivers (IDs). The least influential pressures are related to societal drivers and SC pressures from individual customers. Green supply chain management (GSCM) practices amongst this “average” group of UK manufacturing organisations are focusing on internal, higher risk, descriptive activities, rather than proactive, external engagement processes. Environmental attitude (EA) is a key predictor of GSCM activity and those organisations that have a progressive attitude are also operationally very active. EA shows some relationship to legislative drivers but other factors are also influential. Operational activity may also be moderated by organisational contingencies such as risk, size, and nationality.

Research limitations/implications: The main limitation to this paper is the relatively small manufacturing sample.

Practical implications: This paper presents a series of constructs that identify GSCM operational activities companies to benchmark themselves against. It suggests which factors are driving these operational changes and how industry contingencies may be influential.

Originality/value: This paper explores what is driving environmental behaviour amongst an “average” sample of manufacturers, what specific management practices take place and the relationships between them.

Keywords: Manufacturing industries, Environmental management, Supply chain management, Sustainable development, United Kingdom
Paper type: Research paper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-956
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Ranked on ABS list as 2*. Paper awarded a 2009 Highly Commended (one of four for journal that year)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Strategy and Management

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