Nottingham University Business School
A lorry made from plants depicting sustainability supply chains

Sustainable supply chains research

Effective supply chains are essential to the operation of the global economy – and our research reflects the diversity of challenges we face.

From basic food commodities, fast moving consumer goods in the retail economy, critical pharmaceutical supplies to strategically important industrial goods, all of these sectors are reliant on international supply chains.

Our research covers all aspects of supply chains and is addressing issue such as the risks of modern slavery and contemporary food supply chains. We carry out supply chain and network analysis, with ethical and sustainable supply being a strong theme.

We are providing solutions to real-world business problems, seeking ways to improve operations, logistics and supply chain management process.

Raising standards in the construction industry

Professor Thomas Chesney and Dr Alexander Trautrims, have employed a variety of research methods to raise procurement standards in the construction industry.

A pile of cloth with sign saying no child labour here


Dr Trautrims’ research into supply chains investigated how to identify and minimise the slavery risks in supply chains, sustainable purchasing and procurement practices. His findings included recommendations for mapping the supply chain, assessing it for the risk of modern slavery, including antislavery measures in contracts, and auditing of managerial systems.

In 2015, the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS) - a membership organisation for UK construction companies - established a special interest group on modern slavery. As a member of this group, Dr Trautrims contributed to the development of procurement guidance and training materials for the industry.

This included advice for procurement professionals on how to identify slavery risk and the auditing and management of supply chains. Since its implementation in 2016, the guidance has been used by companies to help them introduce modern slavery policies, or to inform and update their procedures. For example, one of the UK’s largest water and wastewater companies used the guidance to change how it screens suppliers and assesses their level of risk.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has assessed the impact of the guidance over the last three years, and has found that over 65% of its members have raised their awareness of modern slavery practices. In 2018, Dr Trautrims again worked with the Supply Chain Sustainability School, contributing to the development of the People Matter Charter, which aims to raise standard in construction. Signatories pledge to meeting the standards outlined in the Charter and provide annual evidence of its impact on their supply chain.





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Nottingham University Business School

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