Keywords: industrial ecology, lean thinking, supply chain management, SCM, sustainable development, sustainability, value stream mapping, carbon dioxide emissions, lean supply chains, green supply chains, supply chain mapping, waste reduction
Lean and green supply chain mapping: adapting a lean management tool to the needs of industrial ecology
How strong is the link between being Lean and being Green? In recent years, the discipline of industrial ecology has developed as a practical approach to incorporating ecological principles into business and industrial processes in order to make these more sustainable. This paper takes one business process improvement technique incorporated within the Lean Thinking paradigm, Value Stream Mapping, and attempts to adapt this to the requirements of industrial ecology. It draws on systems theory to assert that lean thinking is holistic in nature and illustrates that supply chain waste reduction can find wider application in waste reduction in an environmental context. Examples are then used to illustrate how the new mapping technique could be deployed to enhance business decision-making and to explore when Lean is Green and when it is not.