Future sustainable supply chains: what should companies scan in their environment?


  • Fabbe-Costes Nathalie
  • Roussat Christine
  • Colin Jacques


  • Supply chain management
  • Sustainable development

document type



Purpose – Companiesthattrytobuildsustainablesupplychainsorthathavetoreengineertheirsupply chains to face sustainable development issues are confronted with such a complex and uncertain context that scanning their environment becomes more than ever necessary. This paper makes up the first stage of a research program. It aims to find an adequate scanning approach for sustainable supply chain design. Design/methodology/approach – The research follows a two-steps methodology. First, it looks for appropriate scanning frameworks by reviewing the dedicated literature. Second, it gathers ideas and knowledge combining an analysis of sustainable supply chain empirical studies with the collection of experts’ scanning know-how, by means of semi-structured interviews. Findings – This first stage of the research program suggests use of a multi-and interrelated levels scope for sustainable scanning with a network perspective. The renewed target approach it promotes results in modifying scanning priorities. The overall findings shape up the first draft of a sustainable scanning framework, including a multi-levels scope of analysis, a list of sustainable targets and a first contribution concerning scanning methods and attitudes. Research limitations/implications – The relevance of our scanning framework needs further testing to validate its usefulness and provide recommendations for managers. Practical implications – The paper proposes a scanning framework and a list of targets that could be implemented by professionals. Originality/value – The contribution in this paper is to link environmental scanning and sustainable development adding a supply chain orientation, and to propose a conceptual “sustainable scanning framework”. It is hoped that further research will prove that it has interesting managerial implications for companies challenged by sustainable development issues.

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