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Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM)


The term ‘sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) has been used in a variety of ways by different scholars and practitioners. It is generally understood to integrate environmental and social concerns into supply chain management (SCM) to create long-term economic value (Carter et al., 2019). The concept of SSCM has emerged in response to the challenges posed by globalization and the need to create a more sustainable form of development. The concept of SSCM has been gaining increasing attention in recent years as the negative environmental, and social impacts of traditional supply chains have become more evident. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that the global economy currently uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to support its current consumption level, which is not sustainable in the long term. SSCM offers a way to mitigate some of the negative impacts of supply chains and make them more sustainable.

The goal of SSCM is to create value for all stakeholders while minimizing the supply chain’s negative environmental and social impacts. In order to do this, SSCM requires a shift in thinking from the traditional linear model of production and consumption, in which materials are extracted, used and then disposed of, to a more circular model in which materials are reused or recycled (Koberg & Longoni, 2019). This shift requires changing how businesses operate and interact with their supply chains. Several different approaches can be taken to achieve sustainable supply chain management. The most common and well-known approach is the triple bottom line approach, which focuses on the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economical. This approach seeks to balance the needs of all three pillars to create a sustainable system. Another common approach is the eco-efficiency approach, which focuses on reducing the supply chain’s environmental impacts without compromising the business’s economic performance (Tsai et al., 2021). Businesses often use this approach to reduce their environmental footprint and improve their bottom line.

The life cycle approach is another common approach to sustainable supply chain management. This approach considers the entire life cycle of a product, from the extraction of raw materials to the disposal of the finished product. This approach seeks to minimize the negative impacts of the supply chain at each stage of the life cycle (Carter et al., 2019). Finally, the systems approach is more holistic and considers the interactions between the different elements of the supply chain. This approach seeks to optimize the entire system to achieve the most significant level of sustainability. Each of these approaches has its strengths and weaknesses, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to sustainable supply-chain management; therefore best approach for a particular business will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business. SSCM is a holistic approach that recognizes the interdependence of these three pillars and the need to find a balance between them.

The challenges posed by globalization and the need for a more sustainable form of development are two of the most critical drivers of SSCM. Globalization has led to the rise of multinational corporations and the growth of international trade, thereby creating new business opportunities. However, it has also brought new challenges, such as the need to manage complex supply chains and the risk of environmental and social impacts being felt in different parts of the world. The need for more sustainable development has arisen because of the growing awareness of the environmental and social problems caused by traditional forms of economic development. These problems include climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and social inequality (Koberg & Longoni, 2019). SSCM is seen as a way of addressing these problems by making the supply chain more efficient and less damaging to the environment.

There are several benefits associated with SSCM. These include reducing the supply chain’s environmental impact, improving workers’ social and economic conditions, and creating a more efficient and resilient supply chain (Sánchez-Flores et al., 2020). SSCM is seen as creating value for all stakeholders while minimizing the supply chain’s negative environmental and social impacts. Despite the benefits of SSCM, several challenges are associated with its implementation. These include the need for a shift in thinking from linear to circular models of production and consumption, the need to engage all stakeholders in the process, and the need to overcome the barriers to change (Tsai et al., 2021). The concept of SSCM is still in its early stages of development, and there is much debate about the best way to achieve it. However, there is general agreement on the need for a more sustainable approach to SCM and the potential benefits it can bring.


The concept of sustainable supply chain management is relatively new, and there is still much to learn about the best way to implement it. However, the benefits of SSCM are becoming increasingly evident, and there is a growing recognition of the need for companies to move towards more sustainable practices. SSCM offers a way to create value for companies, their customers and society and is an essential part of the move towards a more sustainable economy.


Carter, C. R., Hatton, M. R., Wu, C., & Chen, X. (2019). Sustainable supply chain management: Continuing evolution and future directions. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 50(1), 122-146

Koberg, E., & Longoni, A. (2019). A systematic review of sustainable supply chain management in global supply chains. Journal of Cleaner Production, 207, 1084-1098.

Sánchez-Flores, R. B., Cruz-Sotelo, S. E., Ojeda-Benitez, S., & Ramírez-Barreto, M. (2020). Sustainable supply chain management—A literature review on emerging economies. Sustainability12(17), 6972.

Tsai, F. M., Bui, T. D., Tseng, M. L., Ali, M. H., Lim, M. K., & Chiu, A. S. (2021). Sustainable supply chain management trends in world regions: A data-driven analysis. Resources, Conservation and Recycling167, 105421.


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