Twenty five experts from Europe, China, Japan and the United States met at IE Business School for the 10th Supply Chain Thought Leaders Round Table last June 24-25. The academics came to Madrid to discuss how Supply Chain Management impacts our global economy. Over the course of the two day summit it emerged that it is no longer enough for supply chains to be efficient and responsive and to help create a competitive edge for companies, they must also be socially and environmentally responsible.

Charles Corbett of the University of California and Patrick Crawford of the Carbon Disclosure Project discussed current trends and opened questions on how to calculate and interpret carbon footprint information. They predicted that with retailers such as Tesco and WalMart joining other firms in committing to provide greenhouse gas emissions information on product labels, the field of â??carbon footprintingâ? is set to explode.

Prashant Yadav of Zaragoza Logistics Center and Luk Wassenhove of INSEAD explained how to create sustainable health supply chains in developing countries. Their work on anti-malaria supply chains showed that whilst the development of new drugs is vital, it is access to these drugs in far reaching corners of our globe that makes the difference. Access however is not achieved by merely shipping drugs to the destination. It requires the skilful alignment of the often conflicting economic interests of the different players in the distribution system. Their work on anti-malaria supply chains supports organizations like the Gates and Clinton Foundation.

Daniel Corsten of IE Business School, chairman of this 10th SCTL, demonstrated how small and mid-sized firms in developing countries can create jobs and grow if they are given better access to capital. Initially explored by the Worldbank in Mexico and Latin America, he discussed a similar financial programme in Russia that reduced the cost of capital for small suppliers by linking its creditworthiness with that of its large customers.

Hau Lee of Stanford University confirms: â??Over the last ten years we have seen a shift in focus of supply chain management. While initially it was about improving on time, cost and quality, we now see strong interest in responsible supply chain management.â?

For Santiago Íñiguez de Onzoño, Dean of IE Business School: â??It is encouraging to see how supply chains contribute to corporate social responsibility. At IE we believe that this new dimension in management will increasingly influence the future actions of managersâ?.

If youâ??re interested in Supply Chain Management, please check out our Executive Master in Global Supply Chains which is one year, English taught blended program (combining online and face-to-face).