Sustainable Supply Chain Management


A project management perspective



By Raju Rao

Chennai, India


Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the practice of coordinating sourcing production, inventory management and transportation among all the actors and focuses on speed, cost and reliability of operations. Sustainable SCM adds the goals of environmental and social values to it and this means addressing global issues such as climate change, water security, deforestation, human rights, fair labour practices corruption etc. In short, we have to consider all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN.

SCM is inherently operational though various projects could be identified within the chain. The Sustainability paradigm has added another dimension for projects within SCM because many of the initiatives being discussed now and in the near future are in fact projects. These are guided by the recent interest in principles and practices of circular economy, sustainable sourcing waste recovery & management, resource efficiency, reverse logistics etc among others. At some point in time, possibly in the coming decade, sustainability as a mindset will be fully set and one would view it as a an operational parameter, till then all efforts to become sustainable will be achieved largely through projects.

Supply Chain Management & Sustainability

What is Supply Chain Management?

Defining SCM

sustainable supply chain is one that fully integrates ethical and environmentally responsible practices into a competitive and successful model. End-to-end supply chain transparency is critical; sustainability initiatives must extend from raw materials sourcing to last-mile logistics, and even to product returns and recycling processes (www.sap.com)

Supply chain management (SCM) is management of the flow of goods, data, and finances related to a product or service, from the procurement of raw materials to the delivery of the product at its final destination.

It includes material handling and software for all parties involved in product or service creation, order fulfillment, and information tracking―such as suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, transportation and logistics providers, and retailers. (www.oracle.com)

Exhibit 1: Stages in supply chain management

The focus of supply chain management is to create value for the customer, increase efficiency and productivity of operations through speed and reliability of performance. It does it by integrating the various functional areas from raw material sourcing to product delivery which would normally work in silos…


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How to cite this paper: Rao, R. (2024). Sustainable Supply Chain Management: A project management perspective; PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/pmwj139-Mar2024-Rao-Sustainable-supply-chain-management.pdf

About the Author

Raju N Rao

Chennai, India


 Raju Rao is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur.

As the Founder of Xtraplus Learning & Consulting and has been a trainer, consultant and coach for nearly two decades. He often writes for professional journals and is the co-author of two books on project management. At many global conferences and seminars, he has been a speaker.

Raju has been involved in the development of various standards in project management. He has worked as a volunteer with PMI and similar organizations for many of their initiatives and projects. As the Founder of the not-for-profit Forum for Food Recovery, an organization involved in advocacy and education in food waste and recovery management, he is also an Ambassador for Green Project Management (GPM Global), which is dedicated to advancing regenerative solutions and practices for sustainable project management. He is a member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.

Raju is a Distinguished Toastmaster and has been an active member of Toastmasters International. He also dabbles in writing fiction and is interested in cooking, running and listening to music.

Raju Rao can be contacted at pmorg.xtraplus@gmail.com