Research on Sustainable Supply Chains



Most people by now are aware that the Earth is facing significant environmental challenges as a result of human activity and waste disposal and that there is a need to somehow reverse these trends.  This is the concept of sustainability.  Sustainability is defined as “the ability to meet current needs without hindering the ability to meet the needs of future generations in terms of economic, environmental and social challenges”. 

The philosophy of sustainability revolves around the general concepts of social responsibility, in terms of how we use our earthly resources. In supply management the terms “green sourcing” and “greening of the supply chain” are used to describe this philosophy.

The science behind the need to create a sustainable environment revolves around the issue of climate change and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which is considered to be the main cause of the observed increase in the temperature of the earth’s surface, but with significant regional variations.  Most of this increase in global average temperature is regard as being due to an observed increase in six major greenhouse gases, of which carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant and the main contributor to global warming. 

Concern about environmental issues arising from this increase in greenhouse gases from pollution, traffic congestion, global warming, disposal and cleanup of hazardous materials, has led to a number of environmental laws, international Protocols and EU directives that affect logistics systems design and strategies.  The international ISO 14000 series of standards allows firms to establish an environmental management system and document and analyse the environmental considerations of their product and service systems and contribute to the decision making towards sustainability.

Prepare an essay containing your research into the issue of “sustainability” in the three specific areas where commercial issues that impact on those engaged in sourcing are plentiful – materials, toxic discharge and energy consumption.

(a) Materials                                                                                      

(b) Toxic discharge                                                                                       

(c) Energy consumption                   


This question belongs to supply chain management and discusses about sustainable supply chain.

Word count: 2057


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