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Sustainable reverse supply chains and circular economy in multichannel retail returns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

The percentage of products being returned in multichannel retail are high and further increasing, yet many retailers and manufacturers are unaware of the importance and scale of this issue. They consider dealing with returns as a cost of doing business, and are oblivious of the potential for conflicts between their Corporate Social Responsibility commitments and their returns practices. This article investigates how far sustainable practices and Circular Economy concepts have been implemented in retail returns systems; it identifies vulnerabilities, barriers and challenges to the implementation of sustainable, circular practices, and suggests ways to overcome them, as sustainability, loss prevention and profit optimisation can go hand in hand with the right approach to the organisation of the reverse supply chain. Implications of this research on strategic management are outlined. The research was conducted using in-depth interviews and observations with 4 major retailers in the UK, 17 structured interviews, 100 retailer website reviews and 3 retail community workshops, all with British and other European retailers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Early online date11 Feb 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 11 Feb 2020


  • JACK_2020_cright_BSE_Sustainable Reverse Supply Chains and Circular Economy in Multichannel Retail Returns

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Frei, R, Jack, L, Krzyzaniak, S‐A. Sustainable reverse supply chains and circular economy in multichannel retail returns. Bus Strat Env. 2020; 1– 16, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 634 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 11/02/22

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