Cecilia Bratt, Robert Sroufe, G. Broman
Jul 21, 2021
Despite increasing business interest in sustainability in general and in sustainable supply chain management (SSCM), the ability to increase suppliers’ ecological and social performance is generally insufficient for many companies. In this study, we outline an implementation process model for sustainable supply chain management. We do so by synthesizing insights from a review of the sustainable supply chain management and organizational learning literature and a case study with a company aspiring to become a global leader in sustainable lighting. By combining these insights, we find that successful implementation of sustainable supply chain management requires sustainability to be anchored in a company’s vision and integrated into all functions. We also argue that organizational learning, especially learning with external stakeholders such as suppliers, an operational definition of socioecological sustainability among stakeholders, and procedural support for the cocreation of strategic plans for change are vital for achieving a truly sustainable supply chain. This definition and cocreation allow for attention to be directed toward strategic ecological and social practices, along with the joint handling of tradeoffs and economic considerations among stakeholders. As we build a foundation for an SSCM implementation process model, we use a science-based framework for strategic sustainable development. We call for more action-based research to uncover the complex nature of sustainable supply chain management, as there are unique challenges and dynamic relationships in every supply chain.