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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Maisam Abbasi

The purpose of this article is to explore and classify the pattern of themes and challenges in developing socially sustainable supply chains.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to explore and classify the pattern of themes and challenges in developing socially sustainable supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is based on a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature to explore what major themes and challenges have been discussed and the significant gaps where opportunities for further research can be found.

Findings

In total, four categories of themes were identified, namely, human-centric, focal organization-centric, supply chain-centric and governance-centric. Challenges were classified into seven categories, namely, inadequate and asymmetric knowledge, difficulties of operationalization, shifting the values, subjectivity in evaluation, governance complexity, difficulties of small- and medium-sized enterprises and sustainability fade.

Research limitations/implications

The focus of the article is on the social pillar of sustainable development in the context of supply chains. A more holistic systematic investigation of synergy of all the three pillars/bottom lines of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social) can be an opportunity for further research.

Practical implications

Taking a more holistic view of the pattern of currently discussed themes and challenges may be beneficial in increasing the absorptive capacity of industrial and business practitioners, by accumulating and assimilating external knowledge, when they design and operationalize innovative strategies in developing sustainable supply chains.

Originality/value

This article may increase awareness about the social responsibilities of supply chains actors and stakeholders in different scales. It may also guide managers, decision makers and practitioners to better understand the difficulties, obstacles or dilemmas that can hinder the sustainable development of supply chains. The results section presents a framework driven from the emerged themes, and the discussion section provides propositions for tackling the challenges and opportunities for further research.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Maisam Abbasi and Fredrik Nilsson

The purpose of this article is to explore themes and challenges in making supply chains environmentally sustainable.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to explore themes and challenges in making supply chains environmentally sustainable.

Design/methodology/approach

The study began with a systematic review, and content analysis of articles in top‐ranking related journals from logistics, transport, sustainability and environmental areas, and ended with research propositions contributing to the further advancement of supply chain management.

Findings

The findings illustrate the major themes published in 18 journals concentrating on sustainable supply chains with special focus on environmental issues. From the systematic review five major areas of challenges for supply chain management are derived: costs, complexity, operationalisation, mindset and cultural changes, and uncertainties. From all of these areas synthesising discussions are provided and research propositions suggested. It is concluded that there is a great need for models and frameworks that consider the complexity involved, take holistic perspectives, and challenge the basic assumptions underlying most of the research published (i.e. reductionism, positivism and economic growth).

Research limitations/implications

Sustainability in this article is mainly related to environmental issues. Analysis of complex interactions between environmental, social and economic aspects might provide opportunities for future research.

Practical implications

The results presented in this paper provide a systematic structure for classifying issues related to logistics sustainability; something which will be beneficial for managers and policy‐makers when they approach sustainable supply chain management challenges.

Originality/value

This paper provides propositions for research based on the emergent outcome of challenges that can guide research, industry and policy‐makers in future sustainability efforts.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Fredrik Ralf Nilsson, Henrik Sternberg and Thorsten Klaas-Wissing

The purpose of this paper is to explore the environmental impact of logistics service provider (LSP) activities in the light of customer priorities and the fragmentation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the environmental impact of logistics service provider (LSP) activities in the light of customer priorities and the fragmentation of the road haulage industry in Europe. It also explores the extent to which LSPs can actually monitor the environmental impact of logistics activities in the supply chain (SC).

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on a narrative literature review, an interview study, a case survey and three in-depth case studies. A framework on sustainability challenges in SCs, derived from the literature, is used to structure and analyse the findings.

Findings

Despite the ambitious environmental schemes communicated by several LSPs, they show little interest in, and exert little control over, the actual emissions generated from their transport operations. It is clear from the results that any real concern from customers for environmental solutions which negatively influence the cost and time requirements of logistics services is not yet a reality.

Research limitations/implications

This paper implies that LSP sustainability cannot be investigated in isolation if a company does not manage its proprietary resources (like owning trucks and employing drivers), but rather engage subcontractors.

Practical implications

Environmental policies among different LSPs appear to be similar as policies, but differ in practice. This variation of practices emphasises the importance of follow-up control by environmentally aware buyers of logistics services.

Originality/value

This paper represents a novel approach as to how LSP environmental policies should be viewed. It highlights the concrete need for action to achieve the environmental targets of 2020 and 2050 for carbon emissions from road transportation.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

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