Sustainable Management and Value Chains

llsms2281  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Sustainable Management and Value Chains
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h
Main themes
This course will address environmental, social and ethical risks, and new business opportunities arising from managing the natural environment. This course will also look at responses at a strategic and operational level: sustainable innovation and green supply chain management, environmental management systems and certification (ISO 14001, EMAS, etc.), supplier code of conducts, sustainable supplier selection and supplier development, waste reduction, eco-efficiency, greenwashing, child labour and labour safety. The focus is not only on operations of the focal firm, but particularly also on sustainability challenges that enfold along globally dispersed supply chains.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


On successful completion of this program, each student will acquire the following skills :

  • Demonstrate independent reasoning,look critically and consciously acquired knowledge (both academic and common sense) and managerial practices, in light of emerging circumstances and their outcomes.
  • Decide and act responsibly,  while taking into account the social, economic and environmental sometimes antinomic, outcomes in the short, medium and long term, for the various stakeholders.
  • Perceptively synthesize the essential elements of a situation, demontsrating a certain conceptual distance, to diagnose and identify pertinent conclusions.
  • Position and understand the functioning of an organization, in its local and international socio-economic dimensions and identify the associated strategic issues and operational decisions.
  • Work in a team :Join in and collaborate with team members. Be open and take into consideration the different points of view and ways of thinking, manage differences and conflicts constructively, accept diversity.



The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
In the 21st century, a company cannot maintain its competitive position or achieve continuous operating improvement without the successful implementation of strategic, well-designed, and well-implemented sustainability initiatives. Sustainability improvements are critical at many points in an oganization's value chain, from initial product conception to production/manufacturing, distribution, and waste disposal.
A sustainable, socially responsible, and financially-driven company must develop, analyze, select, and implement measures that will help it capitalize on the opportunities for improved operating performance, and that will mitigate the inevitable unfavorable effects of business operations. This requires managers who can identify potential threats and challenges, develop strategies to address such challenges, conduct the evaluations of competing alternatives, and make the fact-based decisions. It also requires managers to articulate the decisions to broad sets of stakeholders (i.e., the facility manager, the chairman of the board, individual employees, community organizations, governmental/regulatory agencies).
- Introduction to the basics of supply chains, value chains and related specific management concepts
- Identification and management of risks along the value chains, i.e. within and between companies 
- Challenges and concepts for the transparent representation of value chains resp. supply chains
- Challenges and innovative concepts for a more sustainable design of value chains (e.g. Sharing Economy, Closed-loop Supply Chains, Additive Manufacturing)
- Challenges of digital value chains
Teaching methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

The format is based on active learning and includes lectures, case studies, videos, incidents and class discussion, qualified speakers and team work in sustainability management.
The course provides time for questions and discussion among the instructors, the speakers, and the students, giving students valuable insights into how sustainability is managed in the real world.
Students will read case studies and some background material designed to help them answer the questions posed at the end of each case exercise. 
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Assessment will be based on the following
  • 30%: Case Study Presentation (in teams, during lecture period)
  • 20%: Critial Review (Peer-Assessment) of presented Case Study (in teams, during lecture period)
  • 50%: Written Exam in January
Examples of references are listed below :
  • Porter, M. & M.R. Kramer, (2011) Creating shared value, Harvard Business Review, January-february, pp. 62-77.
  • Gereffi, G., Humphrey, J., & Sturgeon, T. (2005). The governance of global value chains. Review of International Political Economy, 12(1), 78-104.
  • Crane, A. (2013). Modern slavery as a management practice: Exploring the conditions and capabilities for human exploitation. Academy of Management Review, 38(1), 49-69.
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Jiang, B. (2009). Implementing supplier codes of conduct in global supply chains: Process explanations from theoretic and empirical perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(1), 77-92.
  • Egels-Zandén, N. (2014). Revisiting supplier compliance with MNC codes of conduct: Recoupling policy and practice at Chinese toy suppliers. Journal of Business Ethics, 119(1), 59-75.
  • Reuter, C., Foerstl, K., Hartmann, E. & Blome, C. (2011). Sustainable global supplier management: the role of dynamic capabilities in achieving competitive advantage. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 46(2), 45-63.
  • Wilhelm, M.M., Blome, C., Bhakoo, V. & Paulraj, A. (2016). Sustainability in multi-tier supply chains: Understanding the double agency role of the first-tier supplier. Journal of Operations Management, 41, 42-60.
  • Hofmann, H., Schleper, M. & Blome, C. (2016). Conflict minerals and supply chain due diligence: an exploratory study of multi-tier supply chains. Journal of Business Ethics, in print.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Management

Master [120] : Business Engineering

Master [120] : Business Engineering

Master [120] in Management

Master [60] in Management