Sustainable Supply Chains: Ethical Challenges and Actions for Best Practice

Sustainable Supply Chains: Ethical Challenges and Actions for Best Practice

Janine M. Pierce (University of South Australia, Australia) and Donna M. Velliaris (Independent Researcher, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5424-0.ch007
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Supply chains provide many challenges to organizations relating to ethical practices at all levels of the supply chain in an often non-transparent environment, with different operator values through different geographic and cultural locations. Considerations are discussed relating to the link between ethics and brand success, challenges and risk issues relating to ethical supply chains, the role of partnering with others in the supply chain, and the friend or foe consideration of NGOs. The importance and value of bodies such as the UN Global Compact and ACSI to comply with sustainability standards and achieve accreditation as a double benefit strategy for being a responsible organization, as well as enhancing brand, are highlighted. The values of certification and partnership networks are emphasized, with concluding reflections on how partnerships and strength in ethical supply chain are dependent on the need to have every link in the chain be ethical and transparent.
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Defining supply chain sustainability involves the goals of effective management across environmental, social, and economic sustainability aspects, supported by effective governance practices through all the stages of the lifecycles of goods and services (United Nations Global Compact, 2010). In applying this ideal, one needs to recognize that supply chain sustainability is a responsibility and consideration of all stakeholders, from ‘paddock-to-plate’ or other flows through services or products. It is argued that there are varying degrees of information, pressure, and motivations relating to sustainable supply chains from government, organizations themselves, as well as consumers. The European Commission (2009) with its range of attendant policies has declared that it is committed to the three pillars of sustainability goals as presented in the Brundtland Report in 1987 (Elkington, 2004).

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