Kent State hosts symposium about “green” supply-chain management

Helene Miller

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Scholars from all over the country met Friday to discuss the future of green supply-chain management at the International Symposium on Green Supply Chains—an event hosted by Kent State University’s College of Business at the at the Hilton Garden Inn near the Akron-Canton Airport.

With the growing emphasis on going “green,” green supply chain management is something slowly gaining popularity.

According to dictionary.com, a supply chain is a network of companies that get a product from creation to the final consumer. The word “green” added to the term only emphasizes the process taking place in a more environmentally conscious fashion. Different companies, and even departments within a company, would define a green supply chain in their own way.

The day consisted of academic paper presentations on green supply chains. Keynote speaker Joseph Sarkis said green supply chains must include the operations, purchasing, logistics and marketing departments. However, nearly every speaker defined green supply chains differently.

“Many different sources play a role,” Sarkis said.

A green supply chain emphasizes conserving energy, using recyclable materials, using transportation releasing the least amount of carbon dioxide emissions and so much more.

Pratim Datta, assistant professor in the College of Business, said one important part of a green supply chain is maintaining all the connections down the line and making sure that all the links are compliant with being “green.”

According to the event’s webpage, the goals of the symposium were to increase networking, understand better ways to apply green supply chain management to business and share research.

Sarkis explained some ways in which green supply chains can be defined. He opened his speech with a joke on how the event wasn’t being held in Kent because Green, Ohio seemed more fitting. He went on to explain the benefits of implementing a green supply chain and how research on the topic is constantly evolving.

Sarkis said that a green supply chain includes the complexities of business and the environment.

“Organizations have to spend lots of time, effort and more importantly, resources,” he said.

Paper presentations ranged from case studies to suggested supply chain frameworks. Most researchers either presented ways that businesses could implement green supply chains or extended research on ways to improve the process.

Several Kent students presented papers as well. These students include Kuntal Bhattacharyya, Jay Brown, Benjamin Reed, V.G. Remani, Evan Streb and Zhi Tao.

Paul Larson of the University of Manitoba focused on social responsibility. He explained that green supply chains shouldn’t be about doing things right, but about doing the right things.

He explained that green isn’t about looking to the next quarterly report, but about looking to the future generations and how it will benefit them.

Contact business reporter Helene Miller at [email protected]