ASU Center for Organization Research and Design

Essays on Sustainable Operations and Corporate Social Responsibility

by Adem Orsdemir

Nov 20, 2014

Environmental and social issues have gained significant attention recently as stakeholders have become more aware of the impact of unsustainable practices on the quality of life and profitability. Governments have been developing environmental and social regulations, and constantly tightening the limits of these regulations in order to incentivize adoption of environmentally sustainable and socially desirable practices. This push drove many firms around the world to consider business practices that have been touted as environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and profitable. These practices can be incorporated into a firms' business strategy at different phases of product lifecycle: production, use, and end-of-use. We examine three business practices that are implemented at these phases of the product lifecycle. At the end-of-use phase, the products can be collected after consumer use, and remanufactured and sold back to consumers to save material and energy (Product Remanufacturing). At the use phase, manufacturers, instead of selling the product, can sell the functionality of the product and bear the operating cost (Product Servicization). At the production phase, manufacturers can choose to source from suppliers who follow socially responsible practices (Responsible Sourcing). This thesis aims to identify the key trade-offs in these business strategies that drive the environmental and social benefits for the society, and profitability for firms. More specifically in my dissertation, I intend to understand when these strategies improve firms' profit, and environmental and social footprint.