This paper investigates the issues for purchasing and supply chain managers in the context of environmentally-sound management.

The discussion begins with an analysis of relevant consumer attitudes, legislation and concepts in environmentally-sound management (life-cycle analysis, waste management, product stewardship, etc.), linking them to supply-chain management practices such as vendor assessment, total quality management, lean supply and collaborative supply strategies. In each case, parallels are drawn between established practice and new imperatives that require innovative solutions from managers.

The paper then explores the results of fresh field research with five major UK companies, identifying the different ways in which the challenges introduced above are being faced, and adding some extra perspectives to the debate already covered. The discussion concludes with a projection of common issues and ideas for areas of supply chain management that might profit from better environmentally-sound approaches.