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Insights from U.S. Experience to Guide International Reliance on Standardization: Achieving Supply Chain Sustainability

Insights from U.S. Experience to Guide International Reliance on Standardization: Achieving Supply Chain Sustainability
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Author(s): John W. Bagby (College of Information Sciences & Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA)
Copyright: 2013
Volume: 4
Issue: 3
Pages: 22
Source title: International Journal of Applied Logistics (IJAL)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Lincoln C. Wood (University of Otago, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/jal.2013070103



Sustainability in supply chain operations fundamentally relies on environmental standards, the traditional driver of investment in pollution control and a major factor in facilities site selection. While environmental standardization has traditionally focused on activities in nations and in some multinational regions, in the future a more international perspective is needed. Environmental standards spur investment in technologies enabling sustainable supply chain networks. The complex institutional framework of environmental standardization is a widely misunderstood socio-technical, political process. Experience with the development of legal constraints on standardization in the U.S. has produced problems in areas like intellectual property (IP), antitrust and public participation. Standardization venues often host collaborative development of innovation by uniquely fusing technology design and public policy development. Various constituencies are typically engaged: environmentalists; technologists; legislatures at national, regional or provincial levels; regulators at various levels of government; standards-setting organizations; upstream suppliers; downstream users; the connecting supply chains; and society’s varied range of affected communities. This article reviews the role of standardization activities in setting environmental constraints, in the development of green technologies and in establishing metrics for environmental metrology, certification and monitoring. Implications from U.S. experience in managing environmental standardization are examined here to guide participation in international standardization activities. The risks of misunderstanding standardization are so significant that their disregard imperils competitiveness.

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