TU.2.C || The Role of Industry in Sustainable Supply Chains

Lother, Hanna; Schaefer, Peter; Rödger, Jan-Markus

Sustainability describes the synergy of the three dimensions economy, ecology and social. To promote sustainable development and guarantee a high living-standard for future generations, all three elements must be balanced. The economy impacts the other two dimensions along the value chain. Particularly critical is the impact of the supply chain as human working conditions and environmental standards must be secured for procurement of materials along complex transportation routes. To tackle this issue, France has passed a Supply Chain Law (Loi de vigilance) in 2017, Britain has passed the Modern Slavery Act which prohibits child labor in 2015 and both Germany (Lieferkettengesetz) and the EU are planning laws on due diligence and environmental standards for supply chains in 2021. A transparent digitalized version of a company´s supply chain, including its human resources and environmental impact, would facilitate the identification of several sustainability intervention points. Such transparency could lead to not only better and supply chain law-compliant regulations for fairer working conditions and improved social sustainability, but also to optimized circular economy processes. However, a high level of transparency in complex supply chains entails very high bureaucratic efforts. With this conceptual outline, we are aiming to point out the difficulties of fully digitalizing a company’s supply chain – such as complex supplier landscape, aligning diverging legal requirements, data protection – and how a feasible process of doing so could look like. This includes the presentation of IT solutions to reduce handling efforts and a description of existing standards to secure preferential origin.