8.1 Introduction

Watch or Listen to the Following Media Clip

Media 8.1  What is Sustainability. [Video]. UCLA.


Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to understand and answer the following questions:

  1. Define the term Sustainable Value Chain and how it adds value in the global value chain
  2. Explain the concept of Circular Economy
  3. Describe various initiatives taken by organizations to make their supply chains sustainable
  4. Learn the main dimensions of sustainability in the global value chain
  5. Identify key sustainability challenges in value chains and recommend solutions


Global climate change, intense competition, social and environmental responsibility forces the global value chain to vigorously act and use the world’s resources more efficiently, commit to sustainable practices and be competitive nowadays. Three aspects should be included in the sustainable value chain to gain beneficial economic, social, and environmental results. First, many businesses put a lot of effort into demonstrating environmental and social responsibilities. The global value chain uses many global resources, money, human resources, and unnecessary sources. The total environmental impact shown in figure 1 below, where only greenhouse gas emissions from the most significant companies worldwide accounted for 31 percent out of 100 percent (Trucost & GreenBiz, 2018). All companies should start measuring social, environmental and economic impact from the beginning to the end of the product’s life cycle of their services and good; otherwise, the planet will deplete. View graph Distribution of natural capital impacts among companies worldwide in 2016, by issue. [Chart description].

Video: Sustainable Supply Chains Explained (3:34)

Technological advances, cheaper shipping and globalisation of trade have transformed how multinational companies make products and distribute them worldwide. Their supply chains can connect several countries, with different parts of goods and services sourced in different countries in a coherent interconnected network. These are called global value chains (GVC) and they create many opportunities for firms and people, but to take advantage of them, it is essential to better understand how they work, how they affect economic performance and what governments can do to ensure their economies benefit more from them.


Media 8.2  Sustainable Supply Chains Explained. [Video]. HSBC Business Insight.

Video: Sustainability of Supply Chains in the Age of Information | Tom Pathuis. (15:35)

Nowadays the word sustainability is bouncing everywhere around us. But, are we really aware of its meaning?. Tom proposes that, in a world where governments don’t care about sustainability, we, the people, are the ones who need to take lead of the situation and make a change. Technology is only an axis of the process, but we are the ones who need to start it. A sustainability professional with experience in working with major global players in the pharmaceutical, technology, home furniture and consumer healthcare industries in improving environmental performance within the supply chain. Anne-Tom has a keen interest in the application of Information and Communication Technologies on questions of sustainability in order to achieve both positive business- and environmental impacts. He currently works for Ecodesk, a sustainable supply chain solutions business based in the United Kingdom.

Video: How Supply Chain Transparency can Help the Planet | Markus Mutz (13:29)

Given the option, few would choose to buy products that harm the earth — yet it’s nearly impossible to know how most consumer goods are made or where they’re sourced from. That’s about to change, says supply chain innovator Markus Mutz. He shares how he used blockchain technology to track Patagonian toothfish on their journey from ocean to dinner plate — and proved it’s possible to offer consumers a product they can trust.

Assessing What You Already Know

As you answer the following questions, reflect upon what you already know about how companies work.

Text-based alternative.

Overall Activity Feedback

While answering the above questions, you got a chance to analyze what it means to be a sustainable company, the main dimensions of suitability in the global value chain, and the circular economy definition. The sustainable value chain focuses on global issues such as human rights, global warming, melting ice caps, etc. The sustainable value chain is related to the core of the whole business, from the strategy to developing products and relationships.

Media Attributions and References

OCED. (2013, May 27). Global value chains: The production revolution of the 21st century [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktx2_Dzy3tM

TED. (2020, February 14). How supply chain transparency can help the planet | Markus Mutz [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygxh6KR4BPk

TEDx Talks. (2015, May 5). Sustainability of supply chains in the age of information | Tom Pathuis | TEDxYouth@Maastricht [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKOkEEmtlIo

UCLA. (2021, April 13). What is sustainability [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx04Kl8y4dE


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Global Value Chain Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Kiranjot Kaur and Iuliia Kau is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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