MGF5691 - Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management

Interview with Ananya Bhattacharya, Lecturer

Can you tell us a bit about how your teaching is relevant to the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Management (PRME)?

My teaching is relevant to most of the PRME Principles. First, the purpose of this unit is to generate awareness among students about sustainability. By focusing on different local and global businesses, students are encouraged to have an open discussion/debate about the challenges businesses face and the opportunities available in the industry to support these businesses to become sustainable. Second, through different case studies and articles, students generate knowledge about the role of different stakeholders in making businesses sustainable. Finally, students also learn to evaluate the impact of being sustainable on the businesses triple bottom line performance.

Which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) your unit addresses and it what ways? Provide examples of learning activities, initiatives and assessment tasks.

The learning activities are organised in such a way that the unit touches on most of the SDGs. The learning objectives (below) also support the learning activities.

1. understand the environmental and social implications of global production and distribution

2. recognise and implement more sustainable design in processes and products

3. understand the implications of sustainability for organisational survival and the role that operations plays in facilitating sustainability

Every week students learn about a specific function of supply chain (such as packaging, food supply chain, transport/distribution etc.) and see how the businesses can make the function sustainable. The individual assessments require the students to look at any local or global businesses and evaluate their sustainable performances. As a part of this assessment, students are also required to compare two businesses and provide recommendations to improve sustainability in the supply chain. In final group project, students are required to visit a local business related to food industry and explore several issues related to food waste, packaging and transport/distribution.

All these activities help them in developing an understanding about the local and global sustainability issues in supply chain.

Why do you think business students today need to understand more about the role and impact of business in working towards a more sustainable and inclusive local and global economy?

Today’s students will hold responsible positions in the organisations in future. Some of them are already working in businesses. They will play a critical role in shaping the future of the World. Therefore, it is very important that they make decisions based on a good understanding of the current issues we are facing globally. The learning in the class will help them to make an informed decision/choice about the future of their businesses and whole Universe.

What kind of reception do you get from students when you discuss these types of issues with them?

Based on the growing number of students’ enrolment and positive SETU feedback, I can say that students really are interested in the topic. Also, from the heated class discussions that happen every week, I can confirm that students are seriously thinking about the sustainability.

What would you like to do or see in the future in terms of teaching of responsible management, either in the units you teach or more generally?

I would like to involve more industry people in teaching so that students can get first-hand information from the businesses regarding strategies/polices and challenges related to sustainability.