Moving toward a sustainable supply chain largely depends on sourcing and supply management decisions and actions. Sustainability in supply chain is typically defined as “the integration of environmental, social and economic aspects of business, which are also known as triple-bottom-line, for achieving long-term economic viability.”
While, traditionally, the first priority and primary focus of a business is maximising the profit and keeping the share-holders happy, companies are increasingly needed to improve the environmental and social impacts of their operations and decisions.
In procurement, achieving sustainability is proven to be a complex task, since attempts to improve specific aspects of economic, environmental or social issues may affect their other aspects. Therefore, it is needed to consider various trade-offs, unintended consequences, and potential tensions.
The major challenge for procurement and supply management teams will emerge in managing those trade-offs much beyond their traditional role in securing on-time, reliable delivery of high quality and low cost products and services for their firm firms.
Our work in this area is critical to professionalising the supply chain profession and a key area explored within the Leading Procurement Strategy Programme and Supply Chain Management Programme to enable effective skills for next generation professionals in these areas.
Blog produced by: Dr Soroosh Saghiri, Senior Lecturer and Course Director of Leading Procurement Strategy Programme at Cranfield School of Management.