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Juliana Kucht Campos, Patr'cia Alcântara Cardoso, Antônio Andre Cunha Callado and Maja Izabela Piecyk

Changing the way people, companies, and governments behave is critical for mitigating the impacts of global warming, and multinational enterprises (MNEs) have been acting as catalysts of change. Besides corporate actions, they have the power to engage business partners in initiatives for improving supply chain transparency, setting environmental and social standards, employing eco-efficient measures and technologies, and triggering joint efforts to reduce risks and improve supply chain sustainability. Given this context and based on public documents from 26 MNEs from developed and developing countries, companies’ sustainable supply chain initiatives were classified into 92 specific types. Results from the qualitative analysis showed that each researched industry – Basic Material & Energy, Automotive & Commercial Vehicles, Consumer Goods, and Transport & Logistics Services – has specific characteristics in regard to supply chain efforts to mitigate climate change and improve sustainability. Furthermore, results from the quantitative analysis confirmed that MNEs have been focusing on internally focused initiatives while still lacking measures related to distribution activities. The most significant result, however, pertains to logistics service providers (LSPs). After running statistical tests, the relatively low number of sustainability initiatives undertaken by service providers compared to producers was confirmed. Nevertheless, due to their strategic supply chain position – closer to the customers and suppliers – LSPs have an opportunity to reinvent themselves in order to act as sustainability transformers in the near future. In order to play this strategic role, these companies first need to structure basic standards and policies that guide managers, employees, and business partners to promote considerable reductions in the impact of corporate operations on people and the environment. Moreover, the alignment of company’s strategies and sustainability efforts, creation of teams to manage the issue, and promotion of internal communication and education are complementary initiatives that support motivating and changing the sector’s mindset. They can also generate additional value for their customers when designing new services that mitigate climate change, drawing their attention to the chances of extending sustainability throughout the supply chain. In this sense, supply chain collaboration schemes can be triggered by LSPs, transforming this highly polluting and “commodity-deliver” sector into an innovative and value creator.