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Beth Davis-Sramek, the Gayle Parks Forehand Professor of Supply Chain Management in the Harbert College of Business, received the Auburn Spirit of Sustainability Award, which recognizes those who have made significant contributions toward sustainability on campus or in a community.
Davis-Sramek has a passion for environmental and social responsibility, as demonstrated in her research, teaching, and outreach. Supply chain students and member companies of the Center for Supply Chain Innovation (CSCI) know her as the “business sustainability professor.”
Stakeholder pressure and access to capital are making sustainability a business imperative, and she has been a long-time champion of this paradigm shift that highlights how sustainability can and does improve firm performance.
In her second year at Auburn, she launched a special topics elective class called Sustainable Supply Chain Management, which is now a permanent elective. Through in-depth consulting projects with CSCI sponsor companies, Davis-Sramek uses the class to provide students with opportunities to gain practical knowledge in understanding the link between business success and sustainability.
In addition to her classes, she actively looks for ways to embed sustainability into other strategic initiatives in the department. For instance, she led and coordinated events and panel discussions with industry executives to highlight the importance of business having a diverse workforce and leadership team and embracing the circular economy concept.
Her work with companies has yielded substantive changes in their business practices. For example, BBB Industries, a CSCI sponsor company that remanufactures auto parts, engaged in a class consulting project that spanned three semesters. As a result, the company hired a student from the class to lead the company’s sustainability efforts, started calculating its emissions savings from the remanufacturing process, and moved into the select group of companies that can claim to be “carbon neutral.”
BBB recently released its first full sustainability report and can currently provide GHG emissions data to its customers.
Davis-Sramek is the co-editor in chief of the Journal of Business Logistics, one of the field’s premier journals. In this role, she has had the opportunity to engage with Ph.D. students and young scholars from around the world, and she consistently promotes sustainability research.
In a recent editorial titled, “Logistics for a Better World,” she encouraged scholars in the field to use their supply chain knowledge to create a positive societal impact. She also speaks regularly at industry meetings about sustainability, and she spoke twice in the last year about the importance of teaching sustainability in business schools.
Davis-Sramek is the first Harbert faculty member to win the Spirit of Sustainability award. Since the award’s inception in 2013, four other individuals with ties to Harbert have won the award: