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Supply chain integration in B2B companies : leveraging downstream actors to address sustainability challenges in the context of the IoT

  • Marty, Justine
Publication Date
Oct 10, 2022
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Climate change issues are now at the centre of everyday life for people, countries, governments and companies. The Internet of Things (IoT), microelectronics and nanotechnology industries constitute a fairly recent sector that has been widely targeted for its environmental and ethical impacts. The devices associated with this sector are present in many households and exchange information with each other; they can be phones, cars, watches, or headphones amongst many others. Nanotechnology also plays a role in the context of the ecological transition - it can be found in electric cars, solar panels and wind turbines. To manufacture such devices, numerous raw materials are required, including rare metals, critical metals, rare earths and conflict metals. All these metals have significant environmental and ethical impacts during extraction and throughout the manufacturing value chain of the IoT. Moreover, consumers and companies alike are increasingly aware of the significant effort required to address sustainability issues. Customers, consumers and users are increasingly playing a role in the supply chains of companies and are becoming actors of change by proposing more sustainable solutions for both products and processes. However, although it is relatively easy to integrate these consumers into B2C companies, who are close to consumers, this thesis focuses on supply chain integration in B2B companies, and more precisely, on leveraging downstream actors to address sustainability challenges in the context of the IoT. To deal with this problematic, an article-based thesis is proposed. The first article is a bibliometric analysis that attempts to observe the evolution of the literature concerning the integration of downstream actors into the SC, thereby allowing the sustainability dimension to be highlighted. The second article, presented in the form of a systematic literature review and presenting a comprehensive framework, seeks to find out how to integrate these downstream actors in relation to companies’ objectives and processes. Finally, the third article is a case study on rare metals that aims to understand how companies in the IoT sector that are evolving in a B2B system can integrate their downstream actors.

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