A study from Chung-Ang University reveals


image: Research from Chung-Ang University has provided theoretical guidelines for the development of sustainable business solutions for China’s AFCC industry.
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Credit: World Bank

The food cold chain (AFCC) is an important player in the food industry. It ensures safe and efficient food distribution with minimal waste. farm to table. This is achieved by storing food in optimum temperature and humidity conditions to maintain its quality. In recent times, with increasing consumer demand in emerging countries, the industry is facing challenges on multiple fronts, ranging from environmental and economic costs to social disparities.

Some of the growing concerns about AFCC’s operations include higher energy consumption, high carbon emissions, food waste and insufficient wages for employees. This has therefore created a growing need to develop sustainable solutions. Although there are various studies on solutions for developed countries, there are relatively few reports for developing economies that cover all facets of the problems.

To address this gap, a group of researchers from China and South Korea conducted a “systems” analysis to understand the processes that contribute to sustainable AFCC practices. The team led by Professor Keun-sik Park identified and assessed the critical success factors (CSFs) that drive these practices in China. The study was recently published in Business strategy and environment, and cited current problems with cold chains in China. Professor Park explains the rationale for their study saying: “The China’s urbanization process is accelerating the demand for cold chains, which in turn is exacerbating environmental, cost and social issues. Accordingly, we must develop systematic practices that reinforce effective green initiatives.”

The researchers conducted this study by examining and analyzing various aspects of sustainability. These were based on three theories, namely, the institutional theory (mediating factors of the rules and behavior of organizations), the stakeholder theory (taking into account all individuals or groups who are directly or indirectly affected by the organization ), and the triple line model (the social, environmental and financial impacts of an organization). The team first conducted extensive desk research, data collection and interviews, followed by expert assessment and decision analysis for 58 institutions located in Beijing, China. They then used the Contradictory Interpretation Structure Model (AISM) and identified 15 CSFs that contribute to the sustainability of the AFCC.

Next, they determined the hierarchical interrelation between the different CSFs and the driving forces that operate. According to the analysis, the crucial drivers are managing stakeholder pressure, strategic positioning, sustainable policy, senior management commitment and sustainable investing. Consistent with previous studies, countering stakeholder pressure emerged as the most important factor.

It is already known that managing stakeholder pressure and managerial support from top companies can increase the impact of sustainability in their supply chains. Indeed, there is a need for organizations to effectively manage pressure from stakeholders including government, investors and consumers, which requires committed and methodical leadership. Additionally, they must also keep in mind their employers’ rights and consumer feedback that guarantees community welfare issues.

The findings also emphasize that the government should fund businesses at the stakeholder level to ensure timely and adequate funding for the implementation of a sustainable AFCC. Effective communication channels with AFCC companies are necessary to foster trust and increase operational and production transparency.

Taken together, this study provides a detailed theoretical framework for the development of sustainable business strategies for AFCC in China and is relevant to management and policymaking.

Hopeful about the results of this study, Professor Park says: “Our study suggests that there is a need to establish a clear relationship between stakeholders within companies pursuing AFCC activities. This can ensure continuous improvement in AFCC’s sustainable practices and contribute to a smoother green transition.



DO I: https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.3154

Author: Miao Su1Su Han Woo1Xiaochun Chen2Keun-sik Park1


1Department of International Logistics, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea

2Business School, Beijing Wuzi University, Beijing, China

About Chung-Ang University

Chung-Ang University is a private comprehensive research university located in Seoul, South Korea. It was started as a kindergarten in 1916 and gained university status in 1953. It is fully accredited by the Ministry of Education of Korea. Chung-Ang University conducts research activities under the slogan “Justice and Truth.” Its new vision to end its 100 years is “The world leader in creation”. Chung-Ang University offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs, which encompass a law school, a management program, and a medical school; it has 16 undergraduate and graduate schools each. Chung-Ang University’s cultural and artistic programs are considered the best in Korea.

Website: https://neweng.cau.ac.kr/index.do

About Professor Kuen-Sik Park

Professor Keun-Sik Park is an assistant professor in the Department of International Logistics at Chung-Ang University, South Korea. His research interests encompass intermodal transport, international logistics and international trade. He is currently carrying out a preliminary survey for the construction and operation of a truck parking lot in the new port hinterland. In addition, he participates in the development of indicators for the port infrastructure industry.

Read more about Professor Park here: https://scholarworks.bwise.kr/cau/researcher-profile?ep=444

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