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The Supply Chain Position Paradox: Green Practices and Firm Performance


  • Christoph G. Schmidt
  • Kai Foerstl
  • Birte Schaltenbrand


Engagement in corporate environmentalism has become increasingly important across all tiers of the supply chain, from upstream raw material suppliers to downstream retailers. However, the contextual role of a firm's supply chain position (SCP) on the adoption of green supply chain management (GSCM) practices and their performance implications has not been empirically explored. We derive a conceptual model combining the contingent natural resource†based view (NRBV) with stakeholder theory. The resulting hypotheses are tested using cross†industry data of 284 firms utilizing primary and secondary data. Findings reveal a phenomenon we term the Supply Chain Position Paradox: The closer a company is located toward the end consumer, the higher its GSCM practice levels. Conversely, performance gains decrease with company proximity to the end consumer. This paradox is grounded in a mismatch between the level of five specific GSCM practice categories and their respective performance implications. The introduction of SCP as an overlooked contextual factor adds new insights into the “GSCM practice–performance link†and extends current GSCM research. Moreover, our results yield insights to supply chain management executives in optimizing their GSCM practice portfolios.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph G. Schmidt & Kai Foerstl & Birte Schaltenbrand, 2017. "The Supply Chain Position Paradox: Green Practices and Firm Performance," Journal of Supply Chain Management, Institute for Supply Management, vol. 53(1), pages 3-25, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jscmgt:v:53:y:2017:i:1:p:3-25

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