Sustainable Supply Chains (with Valentina Carbone)

00:08 Introduction
00:31 Could you start by telling us a little more about your background and your research interests?
01:19 What have you observed regarding sustainability in Supply Chains over the last couple of years?
02:26 Would you say that companies are acting as efficiently as they possibly can, or are they maximizing their profits at the expense of the environment?
03:40 Are Supply Chains currently acting sustainably?
06:30 What activities have you observed as being particularly harmful and what is the biggest culprit?
08:08 Do you agree on that?
10:52 Would you say that it is a “flavour of the month” type of thing?
13:59 Do you see local Supply Chains as a solution for the future?
17:41 What can we do from the consumer’s side?
19:00 Can companies be trusted?
21:09 How do you see the next generation of Supply Chains adapting and changing their approach?
23:05 As a final word, do you believe that the future generations will have a higher need for a greater environmentalism?
25:02 With regards to sustainability, would you say that we are heading in the right direction?


Waste reduction has been the long standing goal of Lean Supply Chain Management (Lean SCM). During the 2000’s and 2010’s, the focus shifted from ’lean’ to ‘sustainable supply chains’, but there are many points of convergence between these two visions. In particular, both require end-to-end supply chain analysis, as ’local’ improvements (e.g. waste reduction) do not necessarily translate into ‘global’ improvements if inefficiencies are introduced in the process.

With Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and the Netflix hit series “Our Planet”, it seems that today people are paying attention to the issue of sustainability more than ever. Can we say we’ve finally reached a turning point? In this episode of LokadTV, we welcome Valentina Carbone, a Professor and researcher specialised in supply chain management, economy and sustainability from ESCP Europe, and scientific co-director of the ESCP Deloitte Chair. Together, we discuss whether this pressure has made its way to the world of supply chains and how companies are changing their approach to act in a more environmentally friendly manner.

Luckily, even if it’s from a “greedy” perspective, supply chain optimisation goes hand-in-hand with sustainability. Nowadays, companies are increasingly looking at how to make their supply chains more lean and efficient, which, as a result, is better for the planet. Is this a sustainable trend however? For example, there are often unintended consequences such as e-waste. No matter what, supply chains remain complex systems that cannot be underestimated.

Unfortunately, best intentions don’t always provide the best solutions. Often, by solving one problem it only in fact displaces it - the debate over clean energy sources and how they’re constructed is an example of this.

To conclude, we debate where the responsability should lie - with companies or consumers - and how best to shape our habits to move towards a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t decrease our quality of life.