Building a Sustainable Supply Chain

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Building a Sustainable Supply Chain
Lisa Powelson
Chattahoochee Technical College

Abstract
Building a sustainable supply chain requires a holistic approach that includes the company as well as their suppliers and their suppliers, suppliers – downstream and upstream. To ensure goals and objectives are achieved, sustainabilty must be a part of strategy, applying measurement metrics solidifies executive level sponsorship. Sustainable supply chains are typically viewed from a 3BL (3 bottom line) approach which includes People, Planet and Profit dimensions. Companies and their partners within the supply chain who fail to include sustainability as a strategic direction face significant risk to their bottom line and future viability.

Building a Sustainable Supply Chain
To build a sustainable business companies, along with their supply chain channel partners, must develop strategies and tactics that will ensure their products, processes and manufacturing functions address environmental concerns while maintaining financial profitability. (Glover, 2009) Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) involves integrating environmental and financial practices in the complete supply chain lifecycle, from product design and development, to material selection, manufacturing, packaging, warehousing, distribution, consumption, return and disposal. (Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation, 2013) The supply chain lifecycle includes actions of the company, their suppliers, as well as the supplier’s suppliers, both downstream and upstream within the chain. Supply chains consist of a network of relationships and to be successful, long-term and highly collaborative relationships between all participants in the supply chain is necessary. (Rota, Reynolds & Zanasi, 2013)
Supply chain sustainability is broken into three dimensions which are; environmental (planet), social (people), and economic (profit), also termed “the triple bottom line” or “3BL”. (Faisal & Akhtar, 2011)

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