Supply Chain Structures Promoting Development of Sustainable Supply Chains: The Case of Surplus Food Recovery

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Title: Supply Chain Structures Promoting Development of Sustainable Supply Chains: The Case of Surplus Food Recovery
Author: Sundgren, Caroline
Contributor: Hanken School of Economics, Department of Marketing, Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility
Hanken Svenska handelshögskolan, Institutionen för marknadsföring, Logistik och samhällsansvar
Belongs to series: Economics and society - 347 - Ekonomi och samhälle - 347
ISSN: 0424-7256 (Printed)
2242-699X (PDF)
ISBN: 978-952-232-433-7 (Printed)
978-952-232-434-4 (PDF)
Abstract: Reducing anthropogenic carbon emissions and food waste are complex global sustainability challenges that are impacted of and by supply chain activities. This thesis examines structural aspects of the supply chain in relation to sustainable development by drawing on empirical material from food waste reduction. The overall purpose is to enhance our understanding of how supply chain structures can promote surplus food recovery and implications for developing sustainable supply chains. Specific focus is on the distinction between supply chain efficiency, to ensure the wise use of energy and material resources within the supply chain, and supply chain effectiveness, to enhance sustainability goals, such as, material recovery by the supply chain. The thesis comprises one conceptual (Essay 1) and two empirical studies (Essay 2 and 3). Essay 1 argues that energy efficiency can be a generative mechanism of sustainable supply chains because the physical movement of products and material (and, in turn, how much energy and what type is used in the supply chain) is an outcome of the supply chain’s structure and strategic priorities. Essay 2 analyzes different supply chain structures that have emerged to make surplus food available to consumers. The study involves three novel surplus food actors: a surplus food platform, an online retailer, and a surplus food terminal. It builds on semi-structured interviews, participatory observations, and documentary evidence. Essay 3 explores the formation of relationships for food redistribution that improve circularity and social sustainability at the end of the food supply chain with empirical material from 18 semi-structured interviews in Finland. This thesis primarily adds to discussions about sustainable and circular supply chains. First, it contributes with novel insights to the emerging stream of research on non-traditional actors in the supply chain by specifying the roles and motivations (contextual factors) among both business and not-for-profit actors that support and hinder surplus food redistribution in a dyadic constellation. Second, this thesis contributes to a more nuanced understanding of structure in supply chains by showing how structures can emerge and evolve in response to sustainable development challenges. Last, this thesis adds by providing new empirical findings of surplus food recovery options in a developed country context.
Date: 2021-06-11
Subject: supply chain structure
supply chain
food waste

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