Ana_Brbosa-PovoaChallenges and Opportunities in Sustainable Supply Chains
Ana Paula Barbosa-Póvoa

Supply Chains (SC) have appeared for the first time in the literature more than thirty years ago. Since then the Supply Chains Management area has grown considerably at both research and industrial levels and SC are nowadays underpinning systems of any organization. In its classical form supply chains are viewed as a combination of processes to fulfil customers’ requests that include all possible network entities such as suppliers, manufacturers, transporters, warehouses, retailers, and customers themselves (forward/direct supply chains). The main purpose of such systems has been customer´s satisfaction at a minimum cost. However, such purpose has been recently expanded and SCs have been focusing their activities towards the goal of integrating not only economic but also environmental and social aspects. The concept of Sustainable Supply Chains (SSC) has emerged, which is nowadays recognised as a challenging topic by both academics and industrialists. The management of supply chains in a sustainable way is however a complex task and many questions are still to be answered. The need for further research in the area is vital. First a clear understanding of the meaning of SSC and on what is really important at the corporate level is essential. Moreover, the sheer size and complexity of global supply chains means that many companies that begin their journey towards sustainability need tools to support their decision making process from the design to the operational levels where uncertainty and risk is a reality that must be dealt with. The question on how to design, plan and operate SSC under an uncertain environment is a research question still to be answered, where optmization has an important role. In this work these questions are addressed and from this analysis the main challenges and opportunities facing research in the area are discussed.