Research Summary

Managing sustainability in supply chains

by Michael W. Toffel


I am examining codes of conduct, management process standards, and government voluntary programs that address environmental and labor issues, seeking to understand what enables some of these programs to actually deliver on their promise of distinguishing organizations as possessing superior management practices and operational performance.Current research projects in this domain include investigations of the following questions:
  • Under what circumstances do social audits of factories lead to sustained improvements in working conditions? How do social audit team characteristics affect operational improvements?
  • Why are some suppliers more willing than others to disclose to their buyers their carbon footprint and vulnerability to climate change? (working paper)
  • To what extent can private-sector governance mechanisms mitigate corruption, and thus excess pollution, in vehicle emissions testing? (working paper)
  • To what extent does adopting the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard affect an organization’s environmental performance? (working paper)
  • To what extent are government policies that mandate green building practices in public construction projects stimulating the private sector green building market? (related: Genzyme Center case on LEED and green building practices)

Keywords: environment; environmental performance; environmental regulation; environmental strategy; regulation; supply chain; supply chain management; Manufacturing Industry; Auto Industry; Service Industry; Construction Industry; United States; California;