Browsing by Subject "sustainability"

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  • Hearn, Jeff (Ministry of Social Affairs, Tallinn, Estonia, 2020-10)
    Rapporteur Conference Report of 5th International Conference on Men and Equal Opportunities
  • Lahti, Tom; Wincent, Joakim; Parida, Vinit (2018-08-07)
    This paper contains a theory review of value creation and the implementation of next-generation sustainable business models to profit in the circular economy. While previous research has pointed to the influence of society and regulatory policy on companies’ ability to address larger sustainability concerns and to change their ways of working, the field suffers from little theoretical guidance outlining how undertake circular business mode transformation in practice. By reviewing the field’s main theories, we illustrate significant implications for how future research can study profitability and competitiveness in the circular economy. This paper introduces the central components of circular business models and discusses links to contingency theory, transaction cost theory, resource-based theory, theory on networks and industrial economics, and agency theory. Understanding the circular economy and the ways companies can compete in the circular economy based on these theories is important for establishing important new research directions for scholars of sustainable business and circular business models.
  • Kumar Paras, Manoj; Wang, Lichuan; Chen, Yan; Curteza, Antonela; Pal, Rudrajeet; Ekwall, Daniel (2018-08-24)
    The scarcity of natural resources and the problem of pollution have initiated the need for extending the life and use of existing products. The concept of the reverse supply chain provides an opportunity to recover value from discarded products. The potential for recovery and the improvement of value in the reverse supply chain of apparel has been barely studied. In this research, a novel modularized redesign model is developed and applied to the garment redesign process. The concept of modularization is used to extract parts from the end-of-use or end-of-life of products. The extracted parts are reassembled or reconstructed with the help of a proposed group genetic algorithm by using domain and industry-specific knowledge. Design fitness is calculated to achieve the optimal redesign. Subsequently, the practical relevance of the model is investigated with the help of an industrial case in Sweden. The case study finding reveals that the proposed method and model to calculate the design fitness could simplify the redesign process. The design fitness calculation is illustrated with the example of a polo t-shirt. The redesigned system-based modularization is in accordance with the practical situations because of its flexibility and viability to formulate redesign decisions. The grouping genetic algorithm could enable fast redesign decisions for designers.
  • Fougère, Martin; Solitander, Nikodemus (2009)
  • Kouhizadeh, Mahtab; Sarkis, Joseph; Zhu, Qingyun (2019-04-25)
    The circular economy (CE) is an emergent concept to rethink and redesign how our economy works. The concept recognizes effective and efficient economic functioning at multiple scales-governments and individuals, globally and locally; for businesses, large and small. CE represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience at multiple levels (macro, meso and micro); generating new business and economic opportunities while providing environmental and societal benefits. Blockchain, an emergent and critical technology, is introduced to the circular economy environment as a potential enabler for many circular economic principles. Blockchain technology supported information systems can improve circular economy performance at multiple levels. Product deletion, a neglected but critical effort in product management and product portfolio management, is utilized as an illustrative business scenario as to blockchain's application in a circular economy research context. Product deletion, unlike product proliferation, has received minimal attention from both academics and practitioners. Product deletion decisions need to be evaluated and analyzed in the circular economy context. CE helps address risk aversion issues in product deletions such as inventory, waste and information management. This paper is the first to conceptualize the relationships amongst blockchain technology, product deletion and the circular economy. Many nuances of relationships are introduced in this study. Future evaluation and critical reflections are also presented with a need for a rigorous and robust research agenda to evaluate the multiple and complex relationships and interplay amongst technology, policy, commerce and the natural environment.
  • Sundgren, Caroline (2022-01-06)
    The issue of food waste has received increased attention in recent years, from both researchers and practitioners, due to the unethical and negative environmental implications of wasting food. Recovering waste effectively depends on existing or emergent relationships between food waste generators and receivers that facilitate food redistribution. Although previous studies have identified the importance of the relational aspect for achieving circularity, the extant literature has not yet fully explored redistribution in practice. The present study fills this void by exploring the formation of relationships for food redistribution that enhance circularity at the end of the food supply chain through 18 interviews in the food donor–receiver dyad. The results of the study reveal four categories – (1) ongoing redistribution, (2) sporadic redistribution, (3) the establishment of new relationships, and (4) relationship imbalance – that highlight that redistribution is supply-driven and thereby depends on a highly responsive demand side. The results are synthesised into a framework that presents improvements in surplus food recovery.
  • Davtyan, Robert; Piotrowicz, Wojciech (2021-09-08)
    This paper explores opportunities for utilising cleantech in framing research on sustainability-oriented innovations in public procurement. Research objectives include a critical examination of whether cleantech is a distinct sector through a systematic literature review and synthesis of findings with public procurement research. The final analysis involved 31 peer reviewed academic papers along with additional publications obtained with the snowball-approach. The results suggest that cleantech could be used to analyse sustainability related research in the public procurement context. Cleantech is also helpful in enhancing research on public procurement of innovations and addressing societal benefits through local development. Findings unveil new opportunities in investigating better access of smes to public contracts through intermediaries, networks, and public-private partnerships. This paper is the first academic paper to analyse academic cleantech literature and link cleantech and public procurement fields. Such an approach is helpful in framing sustainability in public procurement research and stresses new ways of involving smes in public contracts.
  • Sarkis, Joseph; Kouhizadeh, Mahtab; Zhu, Qingyun Serena (2020-10-20)
    Purpose This study provides a reflective overview on the role of traditional and emergent digitalization and information technologies for leveraging environmental supply chain sustainability – while reflecting on potential trade-offs and conflicts of digitalization and greening. Design/methodology/approach The authors use relevant literature and literature from Industrial Management and Data Systems (IMDS) research published in this journal over the past 50 years. They also use their knowledge and over 30 years of research experience in the field to provide professional scholarly reflections and perspective. Findings The authors provide a focused and succinct evaluation for research directions. A pressures, practices and performance framework sets the stage for pertinent research questions and theoretical needs to investigate the nexus of digitalization and green supply chain management. The authors provide two frameworks with exemplary practices and research for traditional and emergent digitalization and information technology. Their reflection concludes with a summary and steps forward. Social implications The authors show how research and practice can be used to affect supply chain greening with digitalization and information technology. They observe that care should be taken given that these technologies can paradoxically simultaneously offer solutions to environmental degradation and potentially be a source of environmental degradation across the supply chain. Originality/value This work provides a summary and unique perspective that links traditional and emergent digitalization technology to green and environmental sustainability work. The area has not seen a clear summary and path forward and shows how IMDS literature has contributed to the field for decades.
  • Bekrar, Abdelghani; Ait El Cadi, Abdessamad; Todosijevic, Raca; Sarkis, Joseph (2021-03-08)
    The circular economy is gaining in importance globally and locally. The COVID-19 crisis, as an exceptional event, showed the limits and the fragility of supply chains, with circular economy practices as a potential solution during and post-COVID. Reverse logistics (RL) is an important dimension of the circular economy which allows management of economic, social, and environmental challenges. Transportation is needed for RL to effectively operate, but research study on this topic has been relatively limited. New digitalization opportunities can enhance transportation and RL, and therefore further enhance the circular economy. This paper proposes to review practical research and concerns at the nexus of transportation, RL, and blockchain as a digitalizing technology. The potential benefits of blockchain technology through example use cases on various aspects of RL and transportation activities are presented. This integration and applications are evaluated using various capability facets of blockchain technology, particularly as an immutable and reliable ledger, a tracking service, a smart contract utility, as marketplace support, and as tokenization and incentivization. We also briefly introduce the physical internet concept within this context. The physical internet paradigm proposed last decade, promises to also disrupt the blockchain, transportation, and RL nexus. We include potential research directions and managerial implications across the blockchain, transportation, and RL nexus
  • Lindeman, Sara (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2018-01-19)
    This thesis studies early-phase market organizing. Contrary to dominant views of markets as neutral backgrounds to economic activity, in this work markets are understood as socio-material systems that are shaped by the actors involved in the organizing process. In affluent settings, such as Europe, market organizing processes have been going on for centuries. To ethnographically study the very early phases of market organizing, the empirical work is performed in subsistence settings, i.e. resource-constrained areas currently served by the informal economy. The empirical data were collected in informal urban settlements and remote rural areas in Tanzania, Brazil, Ethiopia and India. The purpose of this thesis is to study early-phase market organizing in subsistence settings and its implications on capabilities for achieving well-being. Based on the capability approach, the thesis takes a holistic and multi-level approach to well-being. An improved understanding of early-phase market organizing processes, studied in settings not strictly conditioned by the path taken in affluent economies, can open up possibilities to see and encourage alternative and more sustainable ways of market organizing. The research shows that market organizing begins when an augmented discussion starts around trade exchanges. This discussion includes creating rules and norms to discipline exchanges as well as ways of representing the exchanges. Values guide this discussion, and participating in it requires that actors engage in new practices and often also that they form new organizational entities. In addition, early phase market organizing is characterized by a mobilization of various resources that improve market actors’ abilities to act in and shape markets. In the empirical cases, intermediary organizations, such as local NGO’s, were instrumental in empowering subsistence communities so that they could actively take part in the market organizing process. The dominant debate suggests that individuals will benefit from markets by getting employment and access to improved products and services. However, this thesis shows that when local communities organize themselves and are empowered to actively participate in the market organizing process, this results in market arrangements that better deliver capabilities for achieving well-being.
  • Harilainen, Hanna-Riitta (Hanken School of Economics, 2014-04-14)
    Supply chains are increasingly global, often reaching to developing regions. The media pressure brand owners to be responsible, but a product is only as sustainable as the practices of all the companies involved in manufacturing it are. It’s not enough that the brand owner acts responsibly; sustainable practices have to reach component and raw material suppliers upstream. Image risk has often been recognized as reason for investing in sustainability. In the supply chain context, supplier misconduct also presents a supply risk. Smooth flow of goods is at stake. Examples of this are strikes and the breaking of environmental laws that cause line stops at supplier factories. These realized supplier sustainability risks seldom receive media attention or reach consumer consciousness; however, they potentially cause challenges in availability and supply. The sophistication of supplier sustainability risk management varies by company, and managers are often unaware of its enablers. The topic of supplier sustainability risks is not yet sufficiently addressed in the literature, despite its increasing importance. This research utilizes grounded theory methodology, an inductive approach in which theory is seen as emerging from the data. The chosen methodology particularly suits situations where the subject area has not yet been studied and can give fresh insights. Empirical data were gathered from the managers of six Finnish multinational companies, and the perceptions of the interviewed supply chain and sustainability managers were used to relate the findings at the company level. The key finding of this study is the importance of supply risk as a potential driver for investments in supplier sustainability. A company’s supply chain strategies are linked to its vulnerability to incidents in the supply chain, while the sophistication of sourcing practices is linked to the vulnerability to outcome of such incidents. A company’s position in the supply chain drives risk focus on reputational risk and/or supply risk and sourcing’s incentive structure together with risk awareness drive the proactive or reactive management of supplier sustainability risk. This research contributes to both supply chain risk management and sustainable supply chain management literature. Managers can utilize the framework to understand when proactive supplier sustainability risk management makes sense and what its enablers are.
  • Frig, Meri-Maaria (Hanken School of Economics, 2021-08-04)
    This doctoral thesis examines how social actors, which invest in discourse about the business-sustainability relationship, frame and present sustainability in their public communication. Past studies have examined the framing and presentation of business sustainability and corporate responsibility primarily in newspapers. Recent studies have found that media accentuate ambiguity and polyphony of voices about these topics. However, as the boundaries between strategic communication and journalism are blurring, it is important to understand the variety of ways media and communication construct social and cultural change. This dissertation reports on three empirical studies that examine the framing and presentation of business sustainability in five different owned media publications that are expected to promote sustainability in a business context. Based on a content and textual analysis, the studies examine media and content producers as intermediaries that evaluate, valorize, and negotiate the worth of particular forms of business sustainability. The results of the studies show that the examined intermediaries, each frame business sustainability in specific and strategic ways, with polished accounts and coherent narratives, which are co-constituted by social actors with aligned values and purposes. The thesis extends research on processes of sensemaking and sensegiving in business sustainability communication (including corporate social responsibility communication). The thesis contributes to this strand of research by showing that intermediaries that actively advocate some forms of sustainable business conduct blur the boundaries between previously identified communication tasks. Typical to information intermediaries, they inform stakeholders and audiences about the social and environmental impacts of business activities and present various solutions to common sustainability problems. They also actively involve stakeholders that engage positively with the authors and can add authority and credibility to the voiced claims. The three empirical studies show how social actors also guide their audiences to adopt sustainability-related practices and discourses. For example, firms are expected to serve as public ambassadors and to create public symbols of sustainability. Without a credible media accountability mechanism, speakers can also leave out important questions and information about business sustainability or corporate responsibility. Transparency and trustworthiness can be improved in all communication tasks by adhering to guidelines for responsible journalism.
  • Kovacs, Gyöngyi; Kuula, Markku; Seuring, Stefan; Blome, Constantin (2020-12-01)
    Purpose The purpose of this article is to discuss the role of operations management in society. The article detects trends, raises critical questions to operations management research and articulates a research agenda to increase the value of such research in addressing societal problems. Design/methodology/approach This paper evaluates the papers presented at the EurOMA 2019 conference to detect trends and discuss the contributions of operations management research to society. It further goes to identify gaps in the research agenda. Findings The article finds several important streams of research in operations management: sustainable operations and supply chains, health care and humanitarian operations, innovation, digitalisation and 4.0, risk and resilience. It highlights new trends such as circular economy research and problematises when to stop implementing innovation and how to address and report their potential failure. Importantly, it shows how it is not just a question of offshoring vs reshoring but of constant change in manufacturing that operations management addresses. Originality/value The article highlights not just novel research areas but also gaps in the research agenda where operations management seeks to add value to society.
  • Parida, Vinit; Burström, Thommie; Visnjic, Ivanka; Wincent, Joakim (2019-01-16)
    Making the transition to a circular economy is an important goal for society and individual companies, particularly in resource-intensive manufacturing industries. Yet the complexity and interdependencies of such an undertaking mean that no single company can achieve it alone and ecosystem-wide orchestration is necessary. Based on a qualitative study of six large manufacturing companies (ecosystem orchestrators) and their ecosystem partners, we develop a process model that describes the scarcely understood process of ecosystem transformation toward a circular economy paradigm. We provide evidence that ecosystem orchestrators achieve the transition toward a circular economy in two stages: 1) ecosystem readiness assessment and 2) ecosystem transformation. In each stage, specific and complementary mechanisms are deployed. The article elaborates on ecosystem transformation mechanisms and their purpose, use, and interdependencies in moving toward a circular economy paradigm.
  • Ehrnström-Fuentes, Maria; Jauho, Mikko; Jallinoja, Piia (2019-12)
    The modern industrialized food system has faced criticism for several decades. Since the 1990s, various alternative food networks (AFNs) have attempted to increase the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the food system. A recent innovation in Finland, REKO food rings, was motivated by the desire to enhance the livelihood of farmers and to facilitate a broader change in agricultural practices. It applies contemporary social media tools to organize communication and trade between producers and consumers. The present paper analyses perceptions and experiences of sustainability among REKO producers using thematic interviews and questionnaire data. The results show that the expectations for increased sustainability are high, but the producers nevertheless face multiple challenges to ensure sustainability in their daily practices. Many producers reported having modified their production methods to be more environmentally sustainable already before joining REKO. With regards to economic sustainability, after an enthusiastic start, the positive impacts of REKO have started to diminish. Our findings point to the variations and dynamics of the experiences and perceptions that exist across locations and product segments.
  • Sundgren, Caroline Emilia (2020-11-03)
    Purpose: New actors have emerged in the food supply chain in response to the increased awareness of food waste and the need to distribute surplus food. The purpose of this study is to analyse the different supply chain structures that have emerged to make surplus food available to consumers. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a qualitative multiple-case study of three new surplus food actors: a surplus food platform, an online retailer and a surplus food terminal. Data sources included interviews, documentary evidence and participatory observations. Findings: Three different types of actor constellations in surplus food distribution have been identified: a triad, a tetrad and a chain. Both centralised (for ambient products) and decentralised supply chain structures (for chilled products) have emerged. The analysis identified weak links amongst new actors and surplus food suppliers. The new actors have adopted the roles of connector, service provider and logistics service provider and the sub-roles of mediator, auditor and consultant. Originality/value: This paper contributes to research on closed-loop or circular supply chains for the reuse of products in the context of surplus food distribution.
  • Sarkis, Joseph (2020-12-04)
    Purpose This paper, a pathway, aims to provide research guidance for investigating sustainability in supply chains in a post-COVID-19 environment. Design/methodology/approach Published literature, personal research experience, insights from virtual open forums and practitioner interviews inform this study. Findings COVID-19 pandemic events and responses are unprecedented to modern operations and supply chains. Scholars and practitioners seek to make sense of how this event will make us revisit basic scholarly notions and ontology. Sustainability implications exist. Short-term environmental sustainability gains occur, while long-term effects are still uncertain and require research. Sustainability and resilience are complements and jointly require investigation. Research limitations/implications The COVID-19 crisis is emerging and evolving. It is not clear whether short-term changes and responses will result in a new “normal.” Adjustment to current theories or new theoretical developments may be necessary. This pathway article only starts the conservation – many additional sustainability issues do arise and cannot be covered in one essay. Practical implications Organizations have faced a major shock during this crisis. Environmental sustainability practices can help organizations manage in this and future competitive contexts. Social implications Broad economic, operational, social and ecological-environmental sustainability implications are included – although the focus is on environmental sustainability. Emergent organizational, consumer, policy and supply chain behaviors are identified. Originality/value The authors take an operations and supply chain environmental sustainability perspective to COVID-19 pandemic implications; with sustainable representing the triple bottom-line dimensions of environmental, social and economic sustainability; with a special focus on environmental sustainability. Substantial open questions for investigation are identified. This paper sets the stage for research requiring rethinking of some previous tenets and ontologies.
  • Kar, Ashim Kumar (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2010-11-01)
    Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are constrained by double bottom-lines: meeting social obligations (the first bottom-line) and obtaining financial self-sufficiency (the second bottom-line). The proponents of the first bottom-line, however, are increasingly concerned that there is a trade-off between these two bottom-lines—i.e., getting hold of financial self-sufficiency may lead MFIs to drift away from their original social mission of serving the very poor, commonly known as mission drift in microfinance which is still a controversial issue. This study aims at addressing the concerns for mission drift in microfinance in a performance analysis framework. Chapter 1 deals with theoretical background, motivation and objectives of the topic. Then the study explores the validity of three major and related present-day concerns. Chapter 2 explores the impact of profitability on outreach-quality in MFIs, commonly known as mission drift, using a unique panel database that contains 4-9 years’ observations from 253 MFIs in 69 countries. Chapter 3 introduces factor analysis, a multivariate tool, in the process of analysing mission drift in microfinance and the exercise in this chapter demonstrates how the statistical tool of factor analysis can be utilised to examine this conjecture. In order to explore why some microfinance institutions (MFIs) perform better than others, Chapter 4 looks at factors which have an impact on several performance indicators of MFIs—profitability or sustainability, repayment status and cost indicators—based on quality-data on 353 institutions in 77 countries. The study also demonstrates whether such mission drift can be avoided while having self-sustainability. In Chapter 5 we examine the impact of capital and financing structure on the performance of microfinance institutions where estimations with instruments have been performed using a panel dataset of 782 MFIs in 92 countries for the period 2000-2007. Finally, Chapter 6 concludes the study by summarising the results from the previous chapters and suggesting some directions for future studies.
  • Silvola, Hanna; Vinnari, Eija (2020-09-02)
    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to enrich extant understanding of the role of both agency and context in the uptake of sustainability assurance. To this end, the authors examine auditors' attempts to promote sustainability assurance and establish it as a practice requiring the professional involvement of auditors. Design/methodology/approach: Applying institutional work (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006) and institutional logics (Thornton, 2002; Thornton et al., 2012) as the method theories, the authors examine interview data and a variety of documentary evidence collected in Finland, a small society characterized by social and environmental values, beliefs in functioning institutions and public trust in companies behaving responsibly. Findings: With this study, the authors make two main contributions to extant literature. First, the authors illustrate the limits that society-level logics related to corporate social responsibility, together with the undermining or rejected institutional work of other agents, place especially on the political and cultural work undertaken by auditors. Second, the study responds to Power's (2003) call for country-specific studies by exploring a rather unique context, Finland, where societal trust in companies is arguably stronger than in many other countries and this trust appears to affect how actors perceive the need for sustainability assurance. Originality/value: This is one of the few accounting studies that combines institutional logics and institutional work to study the uptake of a management fashion, in this case sustainability assurance.