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date: 21 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Management efforts to design, develop, and operate more sustainable supply chains encompass an increasingly complex variety of social and environmental issues. More sustainable supply chains must now consider how product, operations, natural resources, technologies, and multiple tiers of organizations collectively create value for a diverse set of stakeholders. For multiple reasons, research and practice have tended to adopt an outcome-based perspective, whereby these efforts focus on a sustainability “destination,” which suffers from several shortcomings. Drawing from research in operations management, stakeholder theory, institutional theory, and innovation, this chapter posits how more sustainable supply chains might be co-defined and co-developed by emphasizing a journey that engages multiple stakeholders beyond supply chain partners. Design thinking is a very promising approach, with its iterative steps of empathy, defining the problem, ideate, prototype, and test. This journey-based perspective provides a framework for structuring engagement and encouraging openness to new observations and insights. Finally, the breadth and depth of collaboration with stakeholders, the nature of governance mechanisms, and the form and scale of resource investment all provide the means to assess the journey as it occurs.

Keywords: supply chain management, sustainability, triple bottom line, innovation, design thinking

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