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Key sustainable supply chain processes: a conceptual framework

McLoughlin, KM and Hines, A and Nudurupati, S and Lascelles, D (2015) Key sustainable supply chain processes: a conceptual framework. In: 8th MMU Postgraduate Research Conference, 05 November 2015 - 05 November 2015, MMU Business School. (Unpublished)


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The purpose of this paper is to outline a conceptual framework of the key processes that integrate sustainability across the supply chain strategically. This has not been done to date due to several factors including the nascent nature of sustainable supply chain management (SCM) research; increased complexities in SCM such as a proliferation of perspectives given various foci of disciplines, theoretical lenses and stakeholder perspectives; and ever more complex strategies given the added sustainable components. With the maturation of this field, the business case as to why sustainability criteria should be integrated in to core business operations has been well established. Piloted sustainable supply chains are coming of age and are exemplified as flagship business practices in company sustainability reports. Practitioners and academics are now turning to the problem of scaling up processes, not only across the whole supply chain, but across the network too. There is no research that systematically maps processes that integrate sustainability dimensions across the supply chain. This presented an opportunity to develop a conceptual framework, outlining the content from themes and issues in SCM and sustainability processes. Through the literature reviewed, key issues in sustainable SCM and its key processes were identified. Furthermore, key findings indicate that there are divergent interests in sustainability agendas across all disciplines and stakeholders that affect how these processes are integrated. This suggests how sustainability is perceived and integrated, requires further attention. To help frame the understanding of how these processes are managed, given the factors at play, the framework is built upon the theoretical proposition of Network Theory (NT), and the influence of power and decision-making. The aim is to develop a theoretical understanding of sustainable SCM with the intention of making an original contribution to the supply chain discipline.

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