Greening operations management: an online sustainable procurement course for practitioners

Helen L. Walker, Stephen Gough, Elmer F. Bakker, Louise Knight, Darian McBain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the Operations Management field, sustainable procurement has emerged as a way to green the purchasing and supply process. This paper explores issues in sustainable procurement training. The authors formed an interdisciplinary team to design, deliver and evaluate a training programme to promote and develop sustainable procurement in the United Kingdom health sector. Particular features of the project were its engagement with evolving and contested understandings of sustainable procurement and of the underlying concept of sustainable development and its recognition that relevant knowledge in the field is both incomplete and widely diffused through the procurement community. Eight practitioner groups worked together on themes to develop their understanding of sustainable procurement using the Blackboard virtual learning environment. Group interviews were conducted upon completion of the course and again three months later to explore qualitatively participants' experience of learning and implementing sustainable procurement. Although the course was delivered to practitioners, it might be modified for undergraduate and graduate students as it comprised the use of online activities in virtual learning environments, case studies and a broad range of literature. The course was also particularly significant in the context of contemporary policy moves in the United Kingdom and elsewhere to promote the role of higher education institutions in delivering workplace-based, high-skills education consistent with strategic policy considerations (see, for example, DIUS, 2008).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-371
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Management Education
Issue number3
Early online date3 Dec 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

Bibliographical note

Wrote to author


  • sustainable
  • procurement
  • operations
  • practitioner
  • online


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