Environmentally responsible manufacturing is concerned with minimizing the environmental impact of products from development to end-of-life disposal or remanufacture. Environmental pressures from customers, regulation, legislation and competition have made organizations more aware of the impact that products have on the natural environment. This study focuses on environmental concerns during the early stages of product design. We examine these concerns with a specific focus on the involvement of supply management personnel, inter-organizational supplier relationships and a determination of how environmental issues affect supplier selection and supply base management. The literature on environmental supplier and purchasing involvement in product development and environmental supplier selection criteria and codes of conduct is reviewed. Following this, secondary data from the websites of environmentally proactive organizations will be gathered to examine what type of tracking is used for suppliers. Finally, discussions with proactive organizations will be presented during the conference that explore the role of supply management personnel in capturing, measuring, quantifying and reporting on the environmental costs and benefits associated with its suppliers. This research provides insights into how the involvement of supply management can improve the environmental performance outcomes of an organization.
This study explores what the literature indicates is occurring in environmentally conscious manufacturing (ECM), versus what companies in the electronics manufacturing sector actually report on their websites. It highlights the differences between the literature and practice, pointing to a proactive trend in ECM among large companies. Adequate measures for reporting the real costs and benefits of ECM appear to be lacking. Using a resource-based view of the firm, an organization with limited resources will only devote those resources to activities where the perceived benefits exceed the cost. In a metrics-oriented world, lack of measurement and reporting can undermine the future growth of ECM. In addition, many of the costs and benefits of ECM may not be explicitly recognized, but rather assumed. This may relegate ECM approaches to be categorized as “necessary for compliance” or “cost centers”, when in fact there may be significant benefits. This could limit ECM to meet regulatory compliance, and little more. To highlight the potential contribution of ECM to the corporation’s success this study compares and contrasts current literature with existing operational practices discovered by gathering secondary data from the websites of environmentally proactive organizations.