Challenges and Opportunities in Supply Chain Environmental Sustainability Disclosure: Navigating the Request-Response Process between Stakeholders and Suppliers

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Date

2013-04-26

Authors

Jiang, Lin
Lab, Jessica
Lai, Phillip
Qian, Yifei
Rau, Peter

Advisors

Chameides, William
Vermeer, Daniel

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Abstract

Environmental sustainability is growing in importance to organizations in many different sectors. The need to account for suppliers’ environmental performance through sustainability surveys is taking up a greater portion of the daily job responsibilities of sustainability professionals. This report incorporates insights from interviews with 15 organizations across multiple industries that address the current challenges and opportunities confronting those in the sustainability supply chain disclosure process. In addition, we analyze 31 collected sustainability surveys based on four survey-level characteristics (survey level, type, purpose and industry) and on four question-level characteristics (question format, nature, topic and subtopic). The resulting data show that, while it would be difficult to establish a single common survey or set of questions, opportunities exist for the standardization of question wording and format, which would constitute a step towards reducing the amount of time that organizations spend on responding to surveys. This report provides a roadmap for taking this project forward based on these results, centering on the creation of a web-based platform containing a repository of standard-worded and formatted questions covering a broad range of environmental topics. Using this platform, organizations could select questions to send to their suppliers based on their own preferences, while suppliers could reduce the amount of time spent on responding to survey requests. This establishes a path forward in supply chain sustainability disclosure, with the potential to reduce systemic inefficiencies and redundancies in this process.

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Jiang, Lin, Jessica Lab, Phillip Lai, Yifei Qian and Peter Rau (2013). Challenges and Opportunities in Supply Chain Environmental Sustainability Disclosure: Navigating the Request-Response Process between Stakeholders and Suppliers. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6866.


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.