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Reverse Logistics

  • By: John W. Schouten & Diane M. Martin
  • In: Green Business: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Nevin Cohen & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Sustainability, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Reverse logistics, an important principle in green, or sustainable, business, refers to any systematic reversal of the traditional flows in a value chain. A value chain is the chain of activities and institutions, such as wholesalers, agents, brokers, shippers, and retailers that add value to a product on its way from the manufacture to its end consumer.

Value chains, or marketing channels, are typically depicted as linear throughput systems with goods and services flowing downstream from manufacturers to consumers, and with money flowing upstream from consumers, back through the channels toward manufacturers, with each member of the chain benefiting along the way. From the standpoint of sustainable business, such linear systems are problematic because, although they work well for managing throughput flows of materials, they fail ...

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