Managing sustainable global supply chains

Managing sustainable global supply chains

Designed for executives and senior supply chain, purchasing and sustainability managers, this systematic review synthesizes 194 studies spanning 25 years of research on sustainable supply chains and presents frameworks for developing competitive and sustainable global supply chains.


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Supply chain disruptions can be devastating for operations and share price. How can your company build a global supply chain that is competitive while sustainable? Responsive while responsible? By applying this research to your supply chain, you can equip your company to respond to consumer demands, survive global shocks, be more flexible, avoid supply disruptions, mitigate reputational risk, avoid regulatory barriers, and fend off global competition.

Globalization + public concern about social and environmental issues = increased complexity in managing supply chains

Globalization has profoundly affected how companies are managed strategically and operationally.

One key outcome: the production of many goods has shifted to developing and transitional economies, resulting in lower cost of production. China has become the “workshop of the world,” offering a large workforce and low overhead costs that enable companies to produce high volumes of products.

At the same time, new risks and challenges have emerged from these new, global supply chains. The risks range from inconsistent or poor quality to supply disruptions. Add to these risks the layer of cultural, legal, administrative, linguistic and political issues arising from cross-boundary networks.

Finally, consider the environmental issues such as waste and emissions reduction, recycling, product design, and recovery and the social issues such as child labour, working conditions, bribery and corruption. There is seemingly no end to the complexity.

While at one time addressing these social and environmental issues might have just been ‘nice to do,’ that is no longer the case. Companies that fail to manage such issues expose themselves to both operational and reputational risk.

Author(s): Steve Brammer, Stefan Hoejmose and Andrew Millington Published: 2011 Area(s) of Study: Strategy,Operations Knowledge Type: Systematic Review Topics: Supply Chains

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