Evaluating and Framing Sustainability Priorities of Supply Chain Managers

Supply chain managers are seen as critical environmental sustainability resources as they operationalise the corporate vision to achieve the economic and sustainability goals. The increasing regulatory pressures and growing stakeholder interests (customers, governments and non-governmental organisations) in sustainable practices have forced organisations to start rethinking the design and planning of their supply chains by adding a set of environmental and social performance metrics to the cost-based performance metrics.

There are win-win sustainability practices – such as waste minimisation initiatives – where an organisation can simultaneously achieve economic goals and reduce negative environmental and social impacts. However, not all sustainability practices come with immediate cost savings. Indeed, most sustainability investments may not even pay off for decades. Therefore, the primary challenge of today’s organisations is to balance economic, environmental and social performance of their supply chains.

This research aims to explore how managers balance economic, environmental and social goals when making strategic supply chain decisions. Whilst many mathematical models have been developed to analytically explore trade-off solutions, we aim to study this topic empirically taking into account the supply change managers viewpoints to understand the situations upon which an investment alternative actually is preferred over another. More precisely, we study the extent to which a manager’s attitude and background (sustainability-related beliefs, educational background, personal preferences, and risk aversion attitude) as well as the corporate sustainability policies influence strategic supply chain decisions. We explore responses to these questions using discrete choice experiments to examine inputs from supply chain professionals in Australia and Europe.


Prof Benjamin Scheibehenne, School of Economics and Management

Prof Behnam Fahimnia, The University of Sydney Business School