Green Logistics: The Way to Environmental Sustainability of Logistics. Empirical Evidence from Polish SMEs
The needs related to natural environment protection, which are accentuated both in world literature and practice, became the main prerequisite to find new management concepts enabling the development of solutions which are environmentally responsible and economically effective at the same time. One of the concepts which can be an answer for the requirements related to environment protection is the ‘green logistics’ concept. The literature review shows that publications referring to the development of ‘green logistics’ have so far focused primarily on the processes of implementation and development of ‘green logistics’ in large enterprises. In other words, the reviewed research studies didn’t take into account the specific nature of the SME sector, which is a very important factor considering its diversity and, most of all, its high significance and size in the economy. As a consequence, a research gap related to the development of ‘green logistics’ among small and medium-sized enterprises was identified. To explore the identified research gap, a survey among 200 SMEs running their businesses in Poland was conducted. On the basis of the conducted research, it was revealed that SMEs’ activities related to environment protection when running logistics processes are mostly determined by actual legal provisions. However, this amounts to enterprises reaching a certain minimum related to the state's environmental policy. On the other hand, it’s worth emphasising the role of the supply chain leader, which becomes a strong driving force for implementing ‘green’ solutions in the area of logistics for enterprises with higher levels of ‘green logistics’ development. The research results can be a starting point for creating a model illustrating the development of ‘green logistics’ in the SME sector.
Keywords: green logistics, environmental sustainability, SME
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