Sustainable Reverse Supply Chains for Retail Product Returns

  • Regina FreiEmail author
  • Sally-Ann Krzyzaniak
  • Lisa Jack
Part of the Greening of Industry Networks Studies book series (GINS, volume 7)


With online sales growing massively over the last few years, product returns have also increased significantly, and for a variety of reasons. However, most companies strongly underestimate the effort and costs necessary for dealing with these returns. The reverse supply chains and systems used are often ad-hoc and have many weaknesses; research has shown that sustainability is a topic still completely neglected in the area. This chapter contributes to identifying vulnerabilities, explains best practice, suggests ways to achieve further improvement and points out where further investigation is required. The findings are based on a comprehensive study involving 100 retailers’ online returns policies; a review of other existing studies; four in-depth case studies with major UK retailers, including over 25 interviews, observations and site visits; and structured interviews with another 17 retailers in the UK and Europe. Feedback was sought from retail industry consortia.


Reverse supply chains Online retail Multi-channel/omni-channel Product returns Sustainability 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PortsmouthPortsmouthUK

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