Advancing Sustainable Economic Systems
SCM can be considered the very ‘lifeblood’ of economic activity, while at the same time impacting on many different ecosystems. SCM has developed the sub-discipline of Sustainable SCM, or SSCM in response. Research in the field has failed to fully capture all of a supply chain’s impacts, mainly because of a theoretical distortion in favour of profit maximisation and economically beneficial practices under the guise of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL). Much of the perceived complexity of the sustainability concept probably centres around the very concept of the TBL. This was never part of the original sustainable development definition, which focussed instead on our responsibility to future generations and North-South equity. In fact, by presenting sustainability as constituting the economic, the social and the environmental, the focus has been more on current concerns, as these three areas in reality can be dealt with at a current operational level, while sustainability, as presented by the WCED (1987) very much emphasises responsibility to future generations, which moves it much more into the realm of the longer term strategic. Separating the economic, social and environmental once again from the sustainability concept may therefore be much more helpful in redirecting that primary focus back onto the future generations issue.
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