Green Freight Asia: Driving the Adoption of Sustainable Supply Chain Practices
Green Freight Asia (GFA) is a three-part case series featured in the 2014 APEX Business-IT Global Case Challenge. The case is best used for group projects or workshop assignments at the undergraduate or graduate level concerning business-IT related topics. The case can also be adapted for classroom facilitation with adequate preparation. In this case, students take on the role of a small firm pitching to collaborate with GFA on an IT solution partnership to support its programme for the adoption of green freight practices in the Asia Pacific region.
Part A chronicles the formation of GFA, a private sector initiative that grew out of a network of companies that came together in 2011 to reduce air pollution and CO2 from road freight emissions in the Asia Pacific region. GFA’s primary goal is to incentivise the adoption of green freight practices by creating a label that recognises and rewards companies for their commitment to improving fuel efficiency and reducing vehicle emissions.
GFA’s label programme, finalised in March 2014, establishes four levels of recognition, each represented by a logo with a corresponding number of ‘Green Leaf(s)’. However, GFA lacks the necessary data management systems and processes to run the programme. For example, to earn a Green Leaf, a company must report certain pre-requisite criteria for that Leaf. This means that GFA needed a mechanism to collect, verify and incorporate company reported data into the labelling programme. These operational elements are crucial to encouraging broad participation and establishing the credibility of the GFA Label.
To address this issue, in May 2014, Stephan Schablinski, the chief executive officer of GFA, seeks potential partners to collaborate with GFA on a comprehensive IT solution for the programme. He is not interested in a typical IT services arrangement — in part because GFA lacks the financial resources to pay the development costs up front — but also because he believes that working with GFA could provide ample business opportunities for an entrepreneurial partner.
The GFA Label Programme is set to launch at the 2014 Green Freight Asia Spring Meeting. At that event, Schablinski intends to announce the IT solution partnership and commit to an aggressive target of growing GFA’s member base from nine to 200 companies operating in 10 countries within a year of launching the programme. He expects the partner to provide a realistic solution for a data management system that can help GFA meet its goals.
Part B of the case series explores how a collaborative partnership between GFA and an IT solution partner could work. A workable partnership must consider alternative models for financing, since GFA lacks the financial resources to pay for the development, implementation, operation and maintenance of the data management system. The partner must provide a feasible, innovative and creative means to commercialise at least some aspect of the GFA partnership. Key to this will be discovering opportunities in value-added analysis and allocation of intellectual property rights in order to support a means of financing the system.
Part C of the case series takes a big picture look at the capabilities of what a successful data collection, analytics and reporting platform could do. It goes beyond how the platform can be used to further incentivise and serve GFA members and any ancillary commercial applications — to how the platform could potentially influence policy and expand collaboration into more wide-reaching spheres to mitigate global climate change.
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