March 01, 2012

Retailer Sustainability and the Supply Chain

Leona E. Lewis, Karyn Schmidt, and Mark N. Duvall

Retailers play a pivotal role at the end of the supply chain, delivering end-use products to consumers. Rather than passively accepting what manufacturers and distributors offer, however, retailers are increasingly dictating to upstream suppliers their own environmental requirements for the content and packaging of the products they purchase. These requirements are often characterized in terms of increased sustainability. This article reviews those requirements from the perspectives of both retailers and suppliers. It also examines regulatory requirements imposed on retailers when compliance lies in the hands of the supply chain, and thus becomes a partial motivator for retailer sustainability requirements.

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