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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Logistics | 2014
Thesis number: 13656
Embedding sustainability into operations of SMEs in logistics industry
|Title:||Embedding sustainability into operations of SMEs in logistics industry|
|Year:||2014 Language: eng|
|Department:||Department of Information and Service Economy|
|Index terms:||palvelut; service; logistiikka; logistics; pk-yritykset; smes; kestävä kehitys; sustainable development; toimitusketju; supply chain|
» hse_ethesis_13656.pdf size:2 MB (1233691)
|Key terms:||sustainability, sustainable development, SME, sustainable supply Chain Management|
Objectives of the Study:
Sustainability becomes a significant part of today's business operations. More present in large corporations it nevertheless gains foothold in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well. When analyzing sustainable development academic literature focuses mainly on large multinationals and to less extent on SMEs. Empirical data on the sustainable development of SMEs is scarce. No frameworks and models that analyze sustainable development at SMEs and provide suggestions for improvements were found. Therefore, a gap in the research was noticed. The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to reducing of that gap. This thesis aims to create a framework for the analysis of SMEs and the model that suggests further development of sustainable practices in SMEs. This thesis provides empirical data regarding SMEs and sustainability. The study focused on SMEs in logistics industry in Finland and to some extent in Russia and the European Union.
Academic background and methodology:
The study primarily used a qualitative method - a case study approach. This method was chosen for more agile information acquisition through the interviews with representatives of SMEs operating in logistics industry. It allowed to take a closer look at the details specific for SMEs as specific types of companies. Academic literature was used to study existing frameworks for the analysis of sustainable development as well as sustainability practices that can be applicable for SMEs. It was used together with other secondary data (such as for instance EU Commission directives) to make a theoretical framework for the analysis of SMEs from sustainability perspective. This framework was used to create a model with suggestions for sustainable development for SMEs in logistics industry.
Findings and conclusions:
Theoretical framework was created that focused on the analysis of sustainable development of SMEs in logistics industry. Combining the theoretical framework with information gathered from the interviews of the case companies allowed me to make a model that provided a roadmap for SMEs in logistics on how to develop in a sustainable manner. The key results were that SMEs at this point do not have a clear strategy for sustainable development, nevertheless some of their operations can be described as sustainable. It was suggested for SMEs to cultivate a vision of sustainability, from which a sustainable development strategy can be formed and managed. Keywords Sustainability, sustainable development, SME, Sustainable Supply Chain Management
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