Sustainable Supply Chain Management


M7-Discussion: Sustainability

As the world is increasingly conserving and protecting the naturalenvironment, logistics and supply chain management also play a greatrole in promoting sustainable development. From an environmentalperspective, “green” supply chain is important because itcontributes to the reduction of carbon emissions, which in turnminimizes the global warming effects. Supply chain redesign is partof greening the supply chains, which involves planning ahead in theattempt to reduce the carbon emissions, for example, by switching tomore environmentally friendly fuels and strategic location ofdistribution centres or warehouses. Additionally, local sourcing ofgoods and centralized deliveries for customers to collect their goodsalso comprises the supply chain redesigns. In Europe, companies haveshifted to shorter sea routes, which are more environmentallyfriendly as compared to the congested roads (Mangan,Lalwani &amp Butcher, 2008).

Chapter 16: Sustainable Supply Chain and Logistics Systems

Some of the important issues concerning sustainable development inthe context of SCM and logistics include redesigning the supplychains, using more environmentally friendly transport modes and localsourcing of goods and raw materials. The environmental effects oflogistics and SCM can be reduced by improving the efficiency of roadhaulage logistics, more efficient packaging and the improvement ofthe operating efficiency of vehicles. Port-centric logistics attemptsto reduce the carbon emissions by minimizing the unnecessary roadhaulage movements through locating the distribution centres at ports.Decoupling the economic growth can be achieved through shifting fromroad usage to rail and coastal shipping transport modes, raising therates of road freight and increase the share of services in economicgrowth (Mangan, Lalwani &amp Butcher, 2008).From an environmental perspective, JIT inventory management practicesmight not achieve sustainability because the frequent transportationof small loads leads to inefficient utilization of transportservices. The term “carbon footprint” in the context of logisticsand supply chain management is used to describe the environmentaleffects associated with the movement of freight.

Chapter 17: Reverse Logistics

Traditional manufacturing can be differentiated from remanufacturing,which brings about the reverse logistics in many aspects. First, theenvironmental focus of traditional manufacturing is the prevention ofpollution after goods have been used while the remanufacturingenvironment seeks to prevent or minimize post-production waste.Forecasting in traditional manufacturing is straightforward andfocuses only the end products but, remanufacturing seeks to predictthe waste, as well as, the end-product demand (Mangan,Lalwani &amp Butcher, 2008).

There are external and internal factors considered in theimplementation of an effective reverse logistics model in a company.In my firm, I would consider the customer demand for environmentalprotection, the legislation that ensures environmental sustainabilityand the incentive that is given to the end users to return the old ordamaged products to the manufacturer. The strategic costs/benefits,environmental concerns and resource committed to reverse logisticsare some of the internal factors that I would also consider inimplementing the model in my company. There are many performancemetrics for reverse logistics, which may include the percentage ofreusable/recyclable materials available after the products have beenused, the time required to recover the product and the percentage ofthe disposed products. The traditional performance measures ofreverse logistics may not meet the desired efficiency because theyare rarely improved, unlike, the stated measures, which arecontinually changed to increase the effectiveness of reverselogistics (Mangan, Lalwani &amp Butcher, 2008).

In relation to real life, I think the reduction of carbon emissionsby improving the supply chain designs is the first step in promotingenvironmental sustainability (Kerta, 2002). The fact that themovement of freight on roads, rails and seaways contributes to ahigher percentage of greenhouse gasses released into the atmospherecreates the need for the use of more environmentally friendlytransport modes. The strategic location of distribution centres orwarehouses at ports is one aspect that stood out for me in themodule. Also, it is interesting how the proposed supply chainredesigns, for example, the local sourcing of goods, reduces carbonemissions to the atmosphere and at the same time reduces the cost oftransportation.


Kerka, S. (2002). Journal Writing as an Adult Learning Tool.New York: ERIC -Educational Resources Information Center.

Mangan, J., Lalwani, C. &amp Butcher, T. (2008).Global logistics and supply chainmanagement. Chichester, England Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley &amp Sons.