Business is key: a sustainable supply chain management checklist could hold the solution to environmental preservation

Nadia Chandra, Guhring (2017-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Sustainability is key for global survival, but the problem is raised as to how the world can achieve sustainability. Businesses hold the potential to have a massive impact regarding how products are produced, raw materials are purchased and product waste is handled. This raises the question as to how businesses can actually implement sustainability throughout their operations. This study aims to assess the use of companies’ supply chains to address this question. This paper will look into both academic theories of supply chain sustainability and practical commitments made by companies, and assess where the overlays exist. Secondary research was conducted by means of a literature review, looking into many theoretical concepts including but not limited to: sustainable supply chain management, the triple bottom line, reverse logistics, sustainable sourcing and sustainable development. Furthermore, case studies were developed for the fast moving consumer goods industry by looking into six companies (four international and two South African). These case studies were developed by using sustainability reports, newspaper articles and articles published by NGOs. It was determined by the findings of this paper that there are three key areas of sustainable sourcing, which are: (1) Supplier relationships, looking into using a firm’s influence over suppliers, improving small-scale farming practice, forming partnerships with suppliers, as well as developing a supplier code of conduct; (2) Holistic Purchasing Strategy, whereby firms no longer look merely at price but take the externalities which impact sustainability into account when purchasing for their supply chain; (3) Partnerships with NGOs, whereby companies form relationships with NGOs in the areas in which they wish to improve and benefit from shared expertise. The findings for reverse logistics revealed two key areas, these are: (1) Product design, whereby businesses focus their product design on different principles to increase sustainability, like design for environment, design for sustainability, design for disassembly, design for recycling, and design for remanufacture; (2) Product Recovery, whereby companies look both in-house to recycle and reduce waste that goes to landfills and end-user/consumer recycling of waste their products create. These findings from sustainable sourcing and reverse logistics form the foundation for the development of the checklist which businesses can use to assess their sustainability efforts and then make the appropriate changes. Future research that can be addressed includes studies that replicate this study but make use of different industries like technology or high-end beauty products. Another area could be a replica study of the companies discussed in this study to assess at a future point their progress and current commitments. Alternative research could focus on the other aspects of supply chain management which were not covered in this paper, namely warehousing, production and distribution.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Volhoubaarheid is die sleutel tot globale oorlewing, maar die vraag is hoe die wereld by volhoubaarheid kan uitkom. Sake-ondernemings het die potensiaal om ’n groot invloed te he op hoe produkte vervaardig word, rou material aangekoop word en hoe afvalmateriaal hanteer word. Die vraag ontstaan hoe besighede volhoubaarheid tasbaar kan implementeer regdeur hul ondernemings. Hierdie studie wil die gebruik van maatskappye se voorsieningsketting bepaal om die vraag te beantwoord. In die verhandeling sal gekyk word na akademiese teoriee van voorsieningskettingvolhoubaarheid en die praktiese toepassings waartoe maatskappye hulle verbind het, en waar die twee oorvleuel. Sekondere navorsing is gedoen deur middel van ’n kritiese oorsig van publikasies, met die klem op teoretiese konsepte (maar nie beperk daartoe nie) van: volhoubare voorsienings kettingsbestuur, drievoudige verslagdoening, terugwaartse logistiek, volhoubare verkryging en volhoubare ontwikkeling. Voorts is gevallestudies ontwikkel vir die hoeomset-verbruiksgoedere-industrie deur ondersoek in te stel na ses maatskappye (vier internasionaal en twee plaaslik). Hierdie gevallestudies is saamgestel met behulp van volhoubaarheidsverslae, koerantartikels en artikels wat deur Nie-regeringsorganisasies (NRO’s) gepubliseer is. Die bevindinge van hierdie verhandeling is dat daar drie sleutel-areas is vir volhoubare bronverskaffing, naamlik: (1) Betrekkinge met bronverskaffers – die studie van ’n firma se invloed op verskaffers; die verbetering van kleinskaalse boerdery-praktyke; die opbou van vennootskappe met verskaffers, sowel as die ontwikkeling van ’n verskaffers-gedragskode. (2) Holistiese Aankoopstrategie, waar firmas nie langer slegs na prys kyk nie, maar buitefaktore in ag neem wat volhoubaarheid beinvloed wanneer hulle aankope doen by hul verskaffers. (3) Vennootskappe met Nie-regeringsorganisasies: Besighede kan vennootskappe met NRO’s aangaan in areas waarin praktyke kan verbeter en kundighede en vaardighede gedeel kan word. Die bevindinge oor terugwaartse logistiek het twee sleutelareas uitgewys: 1. Produkontwerp: Dit is wanneer maatskappye hul produkontwerp fokus op ander beginsels om volhoubaarheid te verbeter, soos Ontwerp vir Omgewing, Ontwerp vir Volhoubaarheid, Ontwerp vir Demontasie, Ontwerp vir Herwinning en Ontwerp vir Hervervaardiging. 2. Produk-verhaling: Maatskappye poog om gedurende die vervaardigingsproses afvalstowwe te verminder of om te sien hoe dit herbruik kan word, sodat minder afval by stortingsterreine beland. Sodoende word minder rommel ook deur die verbruiker van hierdie produkte geskep. Hierdie bevindinge van die gebruik van volhoubare bronmateriaal en terugwaartse logistiek, vorm die basis waardeur ’n vervaardiger ’n kontrolelys met bepaalde volhoubaarheids-doelwitte kan opstel. Hiermee kan hulle gereeld meet of die doelwitte bereik word en aanpassings maak om te verbeter. Toekomstige navorsing kan gedoen word met soortgelyke studiemetodes, maar in verskillende industriee, soos byvoorbeeld die vervaardiging van tegnologiese produkte en/of eksklusiewe skoonheidsmiddels. Verder kan hierdie studie herhaal word, maar oor ’n paar jaar om te bepaal of die maatskappye wel hul doelwitte ten opsigte van volhoubaarheid bereik het. Alternatiewe navorsing kan fokus op ander aspekte van die voorsieningsketting wat nie in hierdie studie gedek is nie, naamlik opgaring, produksie en verspreiding.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100860
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