Reverse logistics and informal valorisation at the Base of the Pyramid: A case study on sustainability synergies and trade-offs

Research paper by Carolin Brix-Asala, Rüdiger Hahn, Stefan Seuring

Indexed on: 18 Mar '16Published on: 04 Feb '16Published in: European Management Journal


Despite a growing body of research on business with and for the Base of the Pyramid (BoP), ecological aspects of such businesses have not been considered adequately in the literature. We take a holistic view on the social and environmental consequences of a specific case of a BoP business. Water sold in plastic sachets in Africa is a typical BoP product with potentially negative ecological impact caused by littering. Reverse logistics activities could mitigate these consequences. At the same time, such activities provide opportunities for poor people to make a living from collecting waste. This in-depth single case study sheds light on the opportunities and disadvantages of informal valorisation in reverse logistics activities from both social and environmental perspectives. The case offers insights into the potential and actual trade-offs in BoP activities in different pillars of sustainability, which are otherwise rarely discussed in academic literature.

Figure 10.1016/j.emj.2016.01.004.0.jpg

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