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Leading sustainability thinkers gather in Lancaster for EurOMA Forum

EurOMA Forum organisers

13 April 2016

Around 80 leading academics from around the world arrived in Lancaster earlier this week for the 3rd International EurOMA Sustainable Operations and Supply Chains Forum.

Lancaster University Management School was chosen to host this year’s event, following on from ESADE Business School in Barcelona last year. The main theme was the “Local vs. Global Sustainability Debate”, including social, environmental and economic sustainability issues.

The programme featured discussions on a wide range of topics, including putting sustainability into product development and innovation; green supply chain management; socially responsible sourcing and supplier development; information disclosure and transparent sustainability reporting; and overcoming trade-offs between the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the triple bottom line.  Provocative titles included “Can David threaten Goliath? An action research project into the emergence of an organic food cooperative in Brazil”.

The plenary speakers were Stuart Walker, Professor of Design for Sustainability, Lancaster University;  Catherine Weetman,Director, Re-think Solutions and Vice-Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Forum, CILT; Tim Pilch, Leader of Pentland Brands' Ethical Trading team; John Peters, Director of GSE Research and Greenleaf Publishing; and Lingxuan Liu, former China Co-ordinator at The Sustainability Consortium, Arizona and member of Lancaster’s Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business.

Professor Linda Hendry, one of the organisers of the forum, said: “There was a great buzz around the Management School, as delegates engaged with the many current challenges surrounding sustainability.   The ideal of buying local implies less use of global supply chains.  Thus it may benefit the local economy at the expense of the global arena.” 

Co-organiser, Professor Mark Stevenson added:  “Sustainability is a business objective to which many organisations aspire, but achieving this aspirational goal presents many operations and supply chain management challenges.  The Forum was a great success.  There were many opportunities to progress the important contribution of international researchers around this theme.”