Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
Issue of Study: Sustainable supply chain management is increasingly viewed not as a cost, but as aprofit-building and value-adding direction. Within this policy, a dichotomy of social andenvironmental goals is pursued, with economic sustainability providing a foundation. Mineralsoriginating from within the Democratic Republic of Congo, a nation with a long history ofsufferance, are being exploited by violent and lawless criminals. Filtering supply chains of theseconflict minerals without damaging the economies of central Africa poses complicated challengesto stakeholders, raises transparency issues and questions the ethical sourcing resolve ofcompanies who operate in the developed world.
Purpose: The purpose is to identify drivers and barriers and what possible influence companiesdownstream can have on incorporating conflict minerals into their supply chains. As a secondarydevelopment, Australian industry reaction to the Dodd-Frank Act and conflict minerals was alsoinvestigated.
Method: This thesis is constructed upon literature studies and empirical research. It is exploratoryand comparative as well as qualitative in method by analysing several core case studies throughprimary interviewing and secondary data collection. Further industry experts were interviewed inan attempt to gain greater understanding of the complexities involved in incorporating supplychain sustainability into a highly decentralised supply chain. Network position was examined toidentify the degree of influence of leading companies in pushing sustainable policies overstakeholders. Chain of control concepts including transparency and codes of conduct were alsoexamined.
Conclusions: Network centrality is a significant determinate of influence over implementing multi-tier sustainability initiatives, with low centrality being a significant restraint on incorporatingconflict minerals into SSCM. Australian industry being comprised mainly of peripheral actors withlow centrality has reacted slowly in comparison to industry based in the US and Europe.
2011. , 67 p.