Closed-Loop Supply Chain Activities in Japanese Electronics Manufacturers(Revised Version)


Purpose — We investigate the impact of the home appliance recycling law on closed-loop supply chain activities in the electric home appliance industry of Japan. We also examine the activities of personal computer (PC) recycling and mobile phone recycling in Japan to conduct comparative research on their reverse supply chains.
Design/methodology/approach — This study is based on semi-structured interviews that were conducted with the managers of five major home appliance/PC manufacturers as well as on public data.
Findings — All the managers agreed that although the recycling business is not profitable for home appliance/PC manufacturers in Japan, government legislation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) compel them to be active in the recycling of their products.
Research Implications — The recycling rates have experienced a constant growth since the home appliance recycling law went into effect in April 2001. This implies that the extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme compelled the home appliance manufacturers to make efforts toward the efficient recycling of their end-of-life products. The results support Michael Porter’s hypothesis that “Properly designed environmental standards can trigger innovations that lower the total cost of a product or improve its value.”
Originality/value — We introduce closed-loop supply chain activities in the electrical and electronics industry of Japan. Japan is advanced in this area; thus, companies as well as governments that are concerned with recycling laws in their countries can learn how Japanese home appliance manufacturers reacted after the recycling law was enacted. To complement public data, we conducted face-to-face interviews in Japanese.

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Luk N. Van Wassenhove