Impacts of Reverse Logistics on the Environment
The first thing that comes in mind when one hears the word logistics is the transportation of goods from one place to another but behold, the definitions of logistics is the well coordinated channeling of material and information across the chain of supply (Weken and Hoek, 1998). In supply chain management, it is the link between each tier in a chain of supply. Reverse Logistics
Reverse Logistics refers to “the process of planning, implementing and efficiently controlling the flow of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from the consumption point to source point with the rationale of recovering the prime worth or dispose of them properly” (Smart and Harrison, 2003). De Brito and Dekker use a passage from the bible in Genesis 3:19 (“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, For out of you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust shall return”) to define reverse logistics.
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Firms are slowly giving importance to this aspect based mainly on three reasons: first one is the ever rising importance of environmental issues and public opinion on their impact (De Brito and Dekker, 2004), secondly the benefits gained by the company by improving their return processes including enhancement of their public image, improved efficiency and effectiveness in management of returned materials, it allows getting new profits (De Brito and Dekker, 2004) the third one is a new and growing environmental regulations (De Brito and Dekker, 2004).
Thus, it is giving rise to a new situation for many companies, in which producers are responsible for the entire life cycle of their productions. Thus, proactive in Reverse Logistics is essential because the company currently operates in complex, changing and highly competitive environment (Pagell, 2004), and it expresses the attitude of anticipating the future to act on gaps and current and future needs, establishing the dvantage over competitors to be the first to act (CarterandEllram, 1998). Environment Ever since renaissance period where resources have been extracted for use coming through to the industrial revolution that saw the peak of material and mineral extraction, the environment has been an issue for the entire planet (McKinnon, Browne andWhiteing, 2010). An increase in population protracts increased mouths to feed as well as people with needs and demands on the world resources (UNEP).
Resources are exploited to feed the population and their depletion is alarming. The Global Environmental Outlook project by the UNEP states that “Renewable resources still sustain the livelihood of nearly one third of the world’s population; environmental deterioration therefore directly reduces the living standards and prospects for economic improvement among rural peoples”. Impact of Reverse Logistics
Waste products and residue from projects can be solid, liquid, and gaseous and can influence pollution of land, air and water resources hence the need for effective disposal. Reverse logistics enables firms to reuse what they had already produced and this reduces the pressure on the environment as most production material are acquired from the environment as the chief source. It’s a breathing space for the environment when instead of further exploitation of resources, firms are able to recycle.
Disposal to the environment is harmful and recycling reduces the disposal effects (Van Hoek and Weken, 1998). Conclusion In preserving the ecosystem and the environment, activities that reduce exploitation of resources and encourage proper disposal of wastes are highly attractive and reverse logistics is one among the many that can help defend the environment. Firms should fully engage in reverse logistics.