Original Research

Greening up in logistics: Managerial perceptions of small and medium-sized enterprises on sustainability in Zimbabwe

Progress Hove-Sibanda, Kin Sibanda, Peter Mukarumbwa
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 14, No 1 | a559 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v14i1.559 | © 2018 Peter Mukarumbwa, Progress Hove Sibanda, Kin Sibanda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 March 2018 | Published: 27 November 2018

About the author(s)

Progress Hove-Sibanda, Department of Transport Economics and Logistics Management, North-West University, South Africa
Kin Sibanda, Department of Economics, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Peter Mukarumbwa, Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Fort Hare, South Africa


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Abstract

‘Sustainability’ and ‘going green’ have become buzzwords in today’s business world. In logistics, greening up in a sustainable way in the future suggests the need to identify innovative measures that go beyond merely reducing carbon emissions. The purpose of this article was to explore managerial perceptions on green logistics barriers, applications and the importance of green logistics in Zimbabwean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A qualitative research approach that utilised semi-structured interviews to collect data from five SME managers and one government official was used. Using a thematic deductive line-by-line content analysis approach, this article principally found that internal barriers such as costs, lack of resources and knowledge are major barriers impeding the adoption and application of green logistics in Zimbabwean SMEs. Poor infrastructure and roads were reported to be the common external barriers of green logistics adoption in SMEs. The article also found that most of the participant SMEs in Zimbabwe were not yet applying green logistics, although some were striving towards practising packaging optimisation, warehousing, inventory management optimisation, along with transport optimisation and efficiency (particularly, route optimisation and fuel efficiency). From the themes, the study found that green logistics is important to the few environmentally conscious SMEs. The importance of green logistics identified were the creation of brand loyalty, good brand image, the possibility of attracting government support, cost saving, as well as improving the firm’s profitability in the long run. Conclusions were drawn and recommendations to both firms and government were made.

Keywords

environmental consciousness; cost consciousness; greening up; sustainability; logistics; SMEs; Zimbabwe

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