Supply chains are an indispensable element of any global economy. At the same time such supply chains create a societal and environmental burden. Drastic actions are required to mitigate these effects. Supply chains should become responsible and sustainable (where responsibility and sustainability are understood in a broad sense) addressing economic, political, societal, legal, human rights, ethical and environmental concerns. This research shifts from the question of why companies should implement responsibility and sustainability into supply chains, to how they should do so effectively. Illustrated by a case study of Sedex, a collaborative platform for buyers and suppliers, this paper proposes three solutions for responsible and sustainable supply chain management (SCM). Firstly, supply chains have to be supported by research and innovation (R&I). Secondly, supply chains should be based on multi-stakeholder efforts of industry, governmental and non-governmental organisations. Thirdly, the responsibility should lie not only with an individual company and its employees, but also with organisations of companies (supra-agency). As a result, responsible and sustainable supply chains require technological, political and ethical solutions involving the development of sound, multi-stakeholder business and governance models. These models should be based on the equal consideration of all three dimensions of sustainability (economic, environmental and social), the cooperation of the partners in the chain, strengthening long-term relationships and legitimate requirements of the stakeholders of a supply chain.
- Multi-stakeholder approach
- Non-state actor regimes
- Responsible and sustainable supply chains
- Supply chain management (SCM)
- Governance models