Importance Of Social Sustainability In Supply Chain Management

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An exploration of measures of social sustainability and their application to supply chain decisions Margot J. Hutchins, John W. Sutherland* Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, Sustainable Futures Institute, Michigan Technological University, USA a r t i c l e i n f o Article history: Available online 11 July 2008 Keywords: Sustainability Corporate social responsibility Supply chain Decision-making a b s t r a c t Sustainability recognizes the interdependence of ecological, social, and economic systems – the three pillars of sustainability. The definition of corporate social responsibility (CSR) often advocates ethical behavior with respect to these systems. As more corporations commit to sustainability and CSR policies,…show more content…
Several of these indicators are then employed in an example to demonstrate how they may be applied to supply chain decision-making. Published by Elsevier Ltd. 1. Introduction Globalization and outsourcing have increased the complexity of supply chains. Concurrent with this trend, over the past few decades, the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development have emerged as humanity has become more cognizant of its increasing impact on the world. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) brought the concept of sustainability to global prominence in Our Common Future (or the Brundtland Commission Report) that described sustainable development as meeting ‘‘the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs’’ [1]. The United Nations (UN) has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to sustainability through efforts such as Agenda 21 [2] and the Millennium Development Goals [3]. Furthermore, sustainability has been integrated into the mission of numerous organizations and institutions, from local to international in scale [4]. The interrelationships among society, the environment, and economic/industrial development are integral to the concept…show more content…
One of the principal challenges of sustainability is to make the Brundtland definition operational, that is, use it to guide decisions. An alternative definition of sustainability [5] begins to provide some assistance on the issue: ‘‘[design and operation of] human and industrial systems to ensure that humankind’s use of natural resources and cycles do not lead to diminished quality of life due either to losses in future economic opportunities or to adverse impacts on social conditions, human health and the environment.’’ This definition makes it clear that metrics, or measures of performance, are needed in order to judge the efficacy of any decision on the resulting sustainability. It is common practice for decision-makers to address the economic pillar of sustainability, and over the last decade, increasing effort has been directed at the environmental pillar through attention to environmental life cycle impacts. Until recently, however, the pillar associated with the social dimension of sustainability has not been well-defined. Discussion of this element has received little attention in the literature, and when discussed,

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