Logistics Research

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 83–94 | Cite as

Supply chain management on the crossroad to sustainability: a blessing or a curse?

  • Árni Halldórsson
  • Herbert Kotzab
  • Tage Skjøtt-Larsen
Original Paper


The implications of environmental sustainability and social responsibility transcend the actual ownership of the particular product; up-stream the supply chain to consider behaviour of suppliers, and down-stream to consider the impact of the product-in-use, and ultimately, its disposal. These concerns are frequently conceptualised as an extension to current theoretical approaches and practices in supply chain management (SCM). This paper raises the question of how SCM is actually addressing these issues. In particular, it is argued that SCM can be seen as amongst the causes of the problem rather than a viable solution. To clarify this challenge, three generic strategies are developed as a response: (1) enhancing the use of current SCM approaches, (2) aligning SCM with social and environmental concerns and (3) rejecting SCM in its current fashion to address environmental and social concerns and suggesting a replacement strategy.


Supply chain management Sustainability Social responsibility Triple Bottom Line Reverse Logistics 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Árni Halldórsson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Herbert Kotzab
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tage Skjøtt-Larsen
    • 3
  1. 1.School of ManagementUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Reykjavik UniversityReykjavikIceland
  3. 3.Operations ManagementCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  4. 4.University of GreenwichGreenwichUK

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