Environmental purchasing and supplier management (EPSM): Theory and practice

Wendy L. Tate, Lisa M. Ellram, Kevin Dooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research is to explore current literature and practice specifically in environmental purchasing and supplier management (EPSM) in order to understand current activities and also to suggest avenues for future research. First, an assessment of the current literature in environmental purchasing was completed which showed that most of the research in environmental purchasing is not grounded in theory, and is just beginning to appear in premiere business journals, as defined by the Financial Times journal list. This was followed by an examination of company practices in environmental purchasing by assessing a targeted cross-industry subsection of 68 corporate sustainability reports. This analysis revealed that the organizations studied are still in the relatively early stages of environmental purchasing and supplier management, and practices vary by industry predominantly because of external pressure towards environmental sustainability. The authors conclude that given the relatively early stage of development of environmental purchasing practice and research, there is significant opportunity in this area to develop theory and to influence practitioner behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-188
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Content analysis
  • Corporate sustainability reporting
  • Environmental purchasing
  • Environmental supplier
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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