Manufacturing back-shoring and sustainability: a literature review

  • Cristina Di Stefano
  • Luciano Fratocchi
Keywords: back-shoring; reshoring; environmental sustainability; social sustainability; off-shoring

Abstract

Purpose of the paper: In recent years, companies are often rethinking their production localization decisions; among different alternatives, they are also considering the relocation of manufacturing activities at the home country (i.e. back-shoring). The purpose of this work is to verify the relationships between the decision to repatriate production (independently of the adopted governance mode) and two of the pillars of sustainability, namely the environmental and the social one.

Methodology: Authors implemented an explorative approach based on an extensive literature review of 105 articles and book chapters indexed on Elsevier Scopus and published up to August 2018. The selected documents have been analyzed conceptualizing environmental and social sustainability under three different perspectives, namely motivation/driver, result/outcome and barrier/enabling factor for back-shoring strategies.

Results: Results show a growing interest of back-shoring scholars on sustainability issues, with respect to both, the social and the environmental pillar. While these elements have been mainly conceptualized as back-shoring motivations, more recently sustainability has been also considered as a barrier/enabling factor for back-shoring strategies.

Research limitations: Due to the explorative nature of the study, generalizability of the results is limited.

Practical implications: The paper provides insights to policy makers who may implement policies to support back-shoring which also enhance environmental and social sustainability of manufacturing. The paper also offers some useful insights for managers, and suggest them to take into count of environmental and social sustainability when implementing backshoring decisions. Lastly, the paper contributes to the academic debate showing some avenues for future research.

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Published
2019-08-30