PROJECTS

Communicating Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Claims
Professor Aidan O’Driscoll of the School of Marketing is leading a group of researchers in the Business, Society and Sustainability Research Centre and in the Arthur Ryan Retail Centre in studying how best to communicate a firm’s sustainability/corporate responsibility claims in order to achieve effective corporate reputation outcomes.
This research seeks to address a dilemma that greatly challenges managers. Put simply, how, to what extent, and to whom should firms and organisations promote their sustainability and corporate responsibility strategies and actions. Should there be a strident and broad promotion of aspirations or a more low key and focused approach to such claim making? What role does the company’s level of sustainability/CR adoption or readiness play in this process?
“The traditional communication models and approaches are becoming redundant in many ways, considering globalisation, the growth of social media, and climate change challenges. ‘Connecting’ about sustainability and corporate social responsibility needs a new dynamic”, argues Professor O’Driscoll.
The research is taking place in the food and retailing sector where sustainability/CR must address a multitude of challenging issues, ranging from transport, packaging waste, farming practice, food traceability, ethical sourcing, and energy consumption to worker’s rights.
Bord Bia, the government agency charged with developing Ireland’s food and drink exports, is supported this research. Bord Bia is committed to Ireland becoming a world leader in sustainably produced food and drink with its newly launched Origin Green campaign.


Supply Chain Risk Management Decision Support Tool – A Food Retail Application
The dynamic nature of supply chains and their complexity make them vulnerable to many different kinds of internal and external risk. Supply chain vulnerability has been heightened by the relentless drive for cost cutting and implementation of lean techniques such as JIT and Six Sigma, which have left very little room for error in decision making processes. To complicate this further, risk within a food supply chain (FSC) has the heightened risk elements of food health and safety and short product life cycles to manage. This projects overall purpose is the development of an integrated decision support tool for managing the complex aspects of managing risk in the FSC. Strong analytical tools such as mathematical programming, discrete event simulation, system dynamics, optimisation, and the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model are integrated into the decision support tool. Using the tool, FSC companies can mitigate and control risks more effectively while increasing employee understanding of not only the risks within their own organisation, but the entire supply chain, from “farm to fork”. The decision support tool is currently being implemented in a leading Irish retail enterprise FSC.


Interactive Supply Chain Management Training Game
Understanding the size and complex nature of supply chains and the costly impact of decisions when managing it is one of the biggest issues for organisations today. Advances in information technology - such as the internet, computer games and interactive simulations - can help supply chain decision makers learn about the magnitude and impact of the risks related to their decisions. Most importantly, we are now part of the virtual age, in which online multi-player games, virtual reality and simulations are a part of everyday life, making gaming and simulation a very important catalyst in the learning process. This research has developed a state-of-the-art supply chain management training game that retail organisations can use in training workshops to help employees learn more about the complexities of material, information and capital flows through the retail supply chain. The games user friendly interface and built-in SCM wizard make the training exercises both a fun and most importantly a learning experience.


Main Street Ireland
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. This visual ethnographic study documents the story of retailing in Ireland through the medium of photography. Collated images of consecutive store units along main streets across the country serve as a research tool to record the changing face of retail in Ireland and provide an insight into Irish social life in the twenty-first century.