Sustainable Business Models Require a Revolution of SCM

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 21) has begun near Paris today. Let us hope it does not fail again – like too many other conferences before. Indeed, time is slipping away and the world will face a bleak future if we do not act now. (A prediction of this future can be found in Stager’s (2015) recent comment.) What we will see are totally new business models or as Unruh (2015) puts it in a nutshell: “A rule-of-thumb I give managers is that if your sustainability performance indicators only improve when customers use your product less often, it means you’re in trouble.” But if business will not be as usual, we cannot afford to manage supply chains the same way as before. Rather we need to revolutionize our supply chain toolset. I expect that a large part of our future research projects will be about how supply chains, as the backbones of business, can make CO2-neutral business models happen.

Update (2015-12-12): A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures has been agreed. The Paris Agreement is certainly not perfect, but it will provide a hook on which people can hang their demands now. This will have supply chain implications.

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include supply chain risk management and international logistics strategies.

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