The applicability of industrial symbiosis praxis to improving the environmental sustainability of supply chains

Luciano Batista

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

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The environmental impact of supply chains is a complex problem which involves interconnected and interdependent organisations from different industries, sectors and geographical areas. Finding ways of involving the parts of a supply chain system in synergistic relationships aimed at minimising the overall impact of the whole system on the environment is likely to achieve better results than each part trying to do its best in isolation. The adoption of sustainable practices in supply chains is a daunting task. Even when players in the supply system try to be consistent, it is very difficult to do it at a global level. This implies that to integrate sustainability in supply chains it is imperative to understand the mutual relationships among the players in the supply system. Moreover, the ecological paradigm for supply chain management demands extended integration of sustainability values, where responsible management is a key function. To delimit the discussion, the paper will focus upon the food supply chain. The environmental and social consequences of the food industry and its supply chain activities represent a global challenge which requires innovative sustainable practices that are effectively achievable to the organisations involved. The food sector as a whole faces considerable challenges imposed by the limited availability of arable land and natural resources for food production on the one hand, and the continuous increase of food consumption dictated by the exponential growth of populations and livestock on the other hand. In 2008, the Cabinet Office pointed out the pressures of climate change on food production and the impact of food chains on the environment as some of the major challenges which need to be addressed before long. In general, the paper will critically discuss and identify potential links that can integrate cross-industry processes through the application of industrial symbiosis concepts and practices. The managerial implications here addressed will consider how organisations involved in a food supply chain system can get engaged in symbiotic relationships that can potentially improve not only their own environmental sustainability performance, but also the performance of the supply chain system they are part of.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventSocial Marketing and Socially Responsible Management, ‘Changing Times, New Challenges’ - Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Nov 2010 → …


ConferenceSocial Marketing and Socially Responsible Management, ‘Changing Times, New Challenges’
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityMilton Keynes
Period3/11/10 → …

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