A framework of sustainable supply chain management: moving toward new theory Craig R. Carter and Dale S. Rogers
University of Nevada, College of Business Administration, Reno, Nevada, USA Abstract
Purpose – The authors perform a large-scale literature review and use conceptual theory building to introduce the concept of sustainability to the ﬁeld of supply chain management and demonstrate the relationships among environmental, social, and economic performance within a supply chain management context. Design/methodology/approach – Conceptual theory building is used to develop a framework and propositions representing a middle theory of sustainable supply chain management (SSCM). Findings – The authors introduce the concept of sustainability – the integration of environmental, social, and economic criteria that allow an organization to achieve long-term economic viability – to the logistics literature, and position sustainability within the broader rubric of SSCM. They then present a framework of SSCM and develop research propositions based on resource dependence theory, transaction cost economics, population ecology, and the resource-based view of the ﬁrm. The authors conclude by discussing managerial implications and future research directions, including the further development and testing of the framework’s propositions. Originality/value – This paper provides a comprehensive review of the sustainability literature, introduces sustainability to the ﬁeld of supply chain management, and expands the conceptualization of sustainability beyond the triple bottom line to consider key supporting facets which are posited to be requisites to implementing SSCM practices. The use of conceptual theory building to develop theoretically based propositions moves the concept of sustainability from a relatively a-theoretical treatment toward new theory in supply chain management. Keywords Supply chain management, Social responsibility, Economic sustainability Paper type Conceptual paper
Received November 2007 Revised April 2008 Accepted April 2008
International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management Vol. 38 No. 5, 2008 pp. 360-387 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0960-0035 DOI 10.1108/09600030810882816
Introduction One need only contemplate the recent and rapid rise in oil prices, rising transparency and consumer awareness of where and under what types of working conditions products are manufactured, and ﬁnancial reporting requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley to understand how these factors might affect a ﬁrm’s supply chain and its economic bottom line. Until recently, most logistics and supply chain management research has examined issues such as the environment, safety, and human rights in a standalone fashion, without consideration of the potential interrelationships among these and other aspects of social responsibility (Carter and Jennings, 2002). The work of Carter and Jennings (2002, 2004) and Murphy and Poist (2002) begins to ﬁll this void, by explicitly examining these standalone issues as a broader conceptualization and higher-order construct of The authors wish to thank Rob Klassen, Mark Pagell, and Mellie Pullman, who provided comments and feedback on earlier versions of this paper. This research was partially funded by a grant from Kenco Logistics.
logistics social responsibility (LSR) and purchasing social responsibility (PSR). Yet, this more recent social responsibility research contains an important omission – a failure to explicitly include what Carroll (1979) refers to as an organization’s economic responsibility. The term sustainability, which increasingly refers to an integration of social, environmental, and economic responsibilities, has begun to appear in the literature of business disciplines such as management and operations. In addition, companies are...