Sustainable Development in Africa
10th International Interdisciplinary Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, June 24 to 27, 2020, Multimedia University of Kenya
Theme: Sustainable Development in Africa
Exploring how green technology and skills in Logistics and transport can improve organizational sustainability.
Charles Mazhazhate, PhD Student, Buse, Lecturer- Harare Polytechnic, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0773 286986, Elizabeth Saidi, Lecturer – Supply Chain Management, Chinhoyi University of Technology, email@example.com, Prof. Marian Tukuta, Supply Chain Management, Chinhoyi University of Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org, Prof. Maria Tsvere, Chinhoyi University of Technology, marai.Tsvere@gmail.com, Mujakachi Tapiwa, PhD Student, CUT, email@example.com
This study argues that investment in green technology and skills in the transport industry leads to sustainable development. Transport drives the economy and if all modes of transport resort to use of environmentally friendly technologies and policies, there is going to be a huge reduction in the greenhouse gases emissions which precipitate global warming that leads to climate change. In principle, green skills refer to values or culture, attitude and knowledge that support sustainable development practices that lead to safe and cost-effective practices in the overall management of logistics and transport organizations. This also entails promotion of high mobility and transport equity in society which is central societal growth. It therefore imperative for governments to invest in latest technology, embrace latest industry best practices and develop human capital that is more useful in this global village. The need to promote research and innovation is critical for the survival of humanity. This was a case study of logistics and transport companies in Zimbabwe. Out of a target of 200 companies a sample size of 70 was randomly selected for representativeness. Both qualitative and quantitative instrumentation were used. The study found out that eighty percent of the companies did not have strategic plans to embrace green technology in the logistics and transport sector. The study also noted a disparity in green skills and lack of compliance to waste disposal management as used engine oils, oil filters, used tyres and metals were strewn all over against the environmental protection policy. The study recommends a paradigm shift in policy systems so as to embrace greening of logistics and transport sectors of the economy.
Key terms: Green technology, green skills, Sustainable development, paradigm, climate change
To maintain a balance of the triple-bottom line (people, planet and Profits), there is need to re-purpose business models in logistics and transport to align with the green technology and skills revolution across the globe. This study alludes to the fact that for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that United Nations Member States agreed to pursue and attain them by 2030 (UN,2015), the application of green technology and skills are relevant to championing SDG 8 (Climate Action) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). This in turn will trigger the effective preservation and conservation of resources for future generations. Transport drives the economy and if all modes of transport resort to use of environmentally friendly technologies and policies, there is going to be a huge reduction in the greenhouse gases emissions which precipitate global warming that leads to climate change. It is envisaged that environmental regulations and policies give birth to adoption of green skills across all economic and social activities which turn is likely to trigger the much desired innovations in green technology. Once a green technology culture is set, then, societies across the globe will be able to think of the life of future generations from selfless point of view. The study looks at the importance of green technology and skills , theoretical framework, methodology, results and discussions, conclusion and recommendations.
Green Technology and Skills
SLAAS (2012) and McDonald, et al, (2012), cited in Alwi, et al, (2017:146) define green skills as “the skills, values and attitudes needed by humans to support and build the sustainability and effectiveness of energy sources as one of the manifestations in the field of green technologies and knowledge required in the workplace”. Kettha (2012) views green technology simply as the application user friendly technical skills in the production of products in order to protect the environment. Similarly, logistics and transport operators must reason beyond a profit culture and develop a sense of green procurement to fuel green supply chains so that there would value at each and every stage of the supply chain. No over production as this triggers a throw away culture, which is great wastage. No under production as this implies deprivation to weak and vulnerable societies as highest bidders get products leading to gross inequalities. So the leagile philosophy seem to gain merit in ensuring producing only that which is required. According to Gangadhar and Ramakrishna (2017), the goals of green technology are:
1. To meet and cater for the needs of society in such a way without damaging or depleting natural resources on earth.
2. To meet present needs without making any compromises.
3. To develop alternative technologies to prevent further damage to health of human beings and other living beings .
From the above objectives it can be noted that there is need to reduce transport externalities such as greenhouse gases emissions, use energy efficient technologies or engines, and a shift toward adoption of renewable energy resources so that there is continuous supply of goods and services to the communities. This tallies with the four main pillars of technology identified by —– namely, energy,environment, economy and social (Kettha,2012). Thus energy efficient technologies must be used, environmentally friendly practices to protect the ecosystem, economic activities to done sustainably and socially, all humans to benefit from the proceeds of nature. Therefore the adoption of green technology and skills entails embracing values or culture, attitude and knowledge that support sustainable development practices that lead to safe and cost-effective practices in the overall management of logistics and transport organizations. This also entails promotion of high mobility and transport equity in society which is central societal growth. It therefore imperative for governments to invest in latest technology, embrace latest industry best practices and develop human capital that is more useful in this global village.
This study is vested in the Sustainable Development Theory (1987) promulgated in the Bruntland Commission Report, Our Common Future, whose thrust is to link economic and environmental issues for the good of humanity. Sustainable Development (SD), refers to “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (UNGA, 1987:43). According to Stoddart(2011), the unique and key underlying principle of SD is the envisaged integration of environmental, social, and economic concerns into all aspects of decision making, and this is instrumental in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals. Green Technology becomes an enabler in fostering a culture amongst people that in all they do, they must think about the environment and the future. Such thinking develops a mind-set that embraces a new thinking about conservation, others and eventually innovative minds that try to exploit natural resources from a sustainable perspective. The theoretical framework challenges those in the logistics and transport sector to embrace green technology, think of green procurement, green skills and practices in the management of their companies. Once green technology policies are in place, it fosters a culture of environmental protection withing the scope of a desired path of economic development which eradicates hunger, poverty and promotes gender equality as well as a clean, sustainable environment.
As used in this study, Organizational Sustainability entails the ability of an organization to live for many years through adoption of policies that withstand stiff competitive environment, promote welfare of its employees and environmental practices that preserve the natural environment or ecosystem. Sustainability as applied here, imply processes and systems that propel the organization into the future with a high resilience capability that makes it survive the test of time. Such an approach leads to the organization achieving growth, profit and survival amidst its competitors. For an organization to attain this, Zawawi and Wahab (2019: 1) contend that, “naturally, the organizational structure of any business is vital for its success in acting as driver for the company to accomplish its vision”. This implies on that on its organogram, a position must be created to show the spirituality or value the organization stands for, for example, quality controller, Safety, Health and Environment Manager, Cost Controller. Since an organization comprises of people, they form a family and a culture. It is this culture that gives the organization some competitiveness. The adoption of green supply chain policy is a product of the organization’s spirituality or what it values most. Thus if an organization values the environment, all its energies will be directed toward a safe environment policy that fights for adoption of green technology and skills. For instance, transport activities result in atmospheric pollution due to carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide which are green house gases. These gases affect the ozone layer, thereby leading to global warming and eventually climate change which in turn triggers a host of other negative impacts such as droughts and increase in temperature. So, if the organization is environmentally conscious, it saves a lot of profits by avoiding fines and building trust from the consumers who values its practices.
Logistics and Transport into the Future
All business activities are supported by numerous micrologistics and macrologistics strategic thinking and planning. Logistics and transport development has a direct impact on the type of technologies to be used to promote the existence of green supply chains and skills for sustainable business growth. As the world population grows, demand for goods and services also increases thereby creating more pressure on various logistics and transport activities. Transportation is pivotal in supporting trade and civilization across the globe in addition to the facilitation of movement of people or goods from one point to places of utility. Even transport is as a result demand or intermediate product, it is vital for the survival of each society. Transport modes include water, air or space, pipeline, road, rail and cable. Each mode of transport creates its own challenges on the environment either during infrastructure development or vehicle manufacturing or the operations of each vehicle unit. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) defines Logistics as the ” process of planning, implementing, and controlling procedures for efficient and effective transportation and storage of goods including services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements”. According to Singh, Singh and Bhardwaj (2011:1), ” the past twenty decades has seen momentous industrial development that has helped our world to realize immeasurable wealth and prosperity. On the contrary, such a rapid development has led to unintended ecological deterioration, including global warming, ozone depletion, industrial accidents, etc….firms are not only recognizing the importance of following environmental guidelines, but are also taking proactive initiatives to develop and implement green strategies that will preserve the environment”.Thus future of logistics and transport hinges on securing latest technologies that are pro-environment, pro-energy saving and pro-human life. Gruchmann (2018: 1), green logistics is “no longer just a temporary fashion, but a topic that has been discussed by experts for many years. What is new is, on the one hand ,the increased social and political awareness, and, on the other hand, the transfer of green core statements to entrepreneurial problems”. This implies that there is need for concrete climate protection strategies, effective company policies that invest into research and development to develop their human capital as well as being strategic in their operations. A change in attitude and mindset is called for if sustainability is to be attained at all costs.
This study was conducted in order to answer three fundamental questions of concern:
1. To what extent does green technology and skills being in use in the logistics and transport sector in Zimbabwe?
2. Are there any measurement tools to assess the effectiveness of green technology and skills policies in Zimbabwe?
3. How can green technology and culture be fused in the logistics and transport sector?
This was a case study of logistics and transport companies in Zimbabwe.Through thorough search of literature review on the impact of logistics and transport on the environment as well as the ned for green technology for organizational sustainability, the major externalities have been identified. Empirical data was obtain from the survey that was conducted from the study area with a target population of 200 companies based in Harare. A sample size of 70 was randomly selected for representativeness based on the Internet sample size calculator. Both qualitative and quantitative instrumentation were used. A questionnaire instrument was developed and tested using Cronbach Alpha Test for fitness. Sixty questionnaires were electronically distributed to managers of different companies and forty-eight were responded. All telephone interviews were successful. This gave a total response rate of 58 out of 70 which translate to 82.85%, rendering the study a successful endeavor. The strategy of data collection was influenced by the advent of covid19 which implied social distance, stay at home, stay safe, and avoid touching materials from numerous sources to prevent contracting the virus. Data analysis was through excel and thematic approach following the above research questions not as they were asked.
Results and Discussions
Application of Green Technology and Skills in the Logistics and Transport Sector in Zimbabwe.
The following Table 1 Tabulates the responses obtained from the primary data on the above aspect which sought to establish the extent to which green technology and skills are currently in use in the logistics and transport sector in Zimbabwe.
|Number of Respondents
|New concept which requires explanation
|No Policy that covers green technology and skills
|Already in use, Green Procurement now in place
It can be noted that even though Eleven respondents (18.96%) of the respondents were familiar with green technology and skills philosophy, forty-seven (81.04%) had limited or no idea at all about the broader meaning and implication of the same aspect. This was noted by Interviewee 2 who retorted: for some of us green technology and skills is a new area, if taught we can catch-up and try to make sense of what it means. Our Directors are the ones who make decisions as to the type of technology to embrace in the organization… The same view was shared by interviewee 8 who seemed more enlightened on the same subject: we cherish in grey-imports and think we are saving a lot of money by not servicing our trucks. This causes a lot of damage to the environment through air pollution. For instance a new UD truck may 1 litre of diesel for 5.8km, but when imported as a second hand, it may be down to 2 or 3 km/ l. This implies more carbon emissions into the atmosphere. In addition we do not have a training budget to uplift the skills of our employees. Interviewee 3 explained that there green technology they had in their organization was : the washing bay separator technology that trapped oils from water and store it in a built tank for disposal later. Otherwise, those servicing trucks are the ones involved in green technology and skills.However, that being the case, still lack of compliance to waste disposal management is in existence as used engine oils, oil filters, used tyres and metals were strewn all over against the environmental protection policy.
The debate then arises on the sustainability of logistics and transport businesses and the future of the citizens if there is no strong focus on green technology and skills.
The question measurement tools to assess the effectiveness of green technology and skills policies in Zimbabwe was referred to the Environmental Management Agency Zimbabwe, none mentioned any tool. This shows a lack of such information in company policies and the existence of a gap in the appreciation of what green technology and skills would imply.
Fusing green technology and culture be fused in the logistics and transport sector.
The following responses were given for this question as shown in the Table 2 below:
|Number of Respondents
|Training and Development of employees
|Need for workshops and research conferences
|Investment in the technologies and learn as we go
Table 2 above shows the approaches that respondents felt would help to foster a culture of resilience n the logistics and transport sector. In addition to the above, Interviewee 3 stated that: green technology and skills must be a mandatory part of the education system such that all people get the basics from the formal mainstream learning. When done in organizations, it may be not all that effective as organizations want to maximize on profit, there is less time for that.
The study found out that eighty percent of the companies did not have strategic plans to embrace green technology and green skills in the logistics and transport sector.
The study recommends a paradigm shift in policy systems so as to embrace greening of logistics and transport sectors of the economy.There is need to promote research and innovation in organizations for increased organizational sustainability. Further comparative study is to be done in order to compare application of green technology and skills in developed and developing countries for deeper insights into how the latter can leap-frog their systems.
Gangadhar, B. and Ramakrishna Naidu, G. (2017). Green Technology Vs Environmental Sustainability in India- An Overview, International Journal of Current Advanced Research, 06(03) pp.2465-2468.
Gruchmann, T. (2018). Advanced Green Logistics Strategies and Technologies, ResearchGate.
Kettha (2012). https://gpnm.org/e/articles/Definition-of-Green Technology-by-KETTAH-Ministry -of- Energy-Green-Technology-and -Water-a5.html.
Singh, S., Singh, L.P., and Bhardwaj, A. (2011). Role of Logistics and Transportation in green supply chain management: An exploratory study of Courier, ResearchGate.
Stoddart, H.(2011).A Pocket Guide to Sustainable Development Governance, Stakeholder Forum.
UN General Assembly, (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, Oslo, Norway, UNGA, DICE.
Zawawi, N.F.M, and Wahab, S.A. (2019). Organizational Sustainability: A Redefinition?, ResearchGate