Indicators and tools for Supply Chain Sustainability

Methods for gaining insight into supply chain sustainability

examples of insights gained

advantages and disadvantages

Life Cycle Analysis

Energy use, gaseous pollution, CO2 emissions, eutrophication potential, water use, solid waste

Particularly useful for supply chain analyses of processing, manufacturing, and distribution with direct insights into eco-efficiency and waste management

(Hamprecht et al. 2005; Martin 2001a). Difficult to apply to an agricultural supply base

Carbon Accounting

carbon fixed and emitted as CO2

Material Flow Analyses

Waste reduction, reuse, recycling potential

Ecological Foot-printing

Insights into the relative impact of many activities by converting them all into the same units

Useful for geographically based policy discussions

Converting Impacts into Financial Costs

useful for financial incentives and taxation discussions


Food Miles

distance travelled between producer and retailer

supports local food supply chains. Not directly proportional to transport externalities

HACCP Studies

internationally agreed risk analysis system designed to produce safe food

Useful in ‘mapping’ chains as starting point for other assessments

Life Cycle Thinking

suitable for evaluating local priorities and those not covered by other methodologies

No generally accepted methodology available. highly dependent on expertise available

Stakeholder Dialogue and Surveys

dependent on stakeholders consulted and survey design

useful for highlighting problem areas and/or risks