March 2, 2023, by Lexi Earl
Imagining the sustainable supply chains of the future: an interview with Dr Christine Roussat
Can we imagine future sustainable supply chains and food systems? Today we talk with Dr Christine Roussat, a visiting researcher with the University of Nottingham Business School. Christine is an Associate Professor in the IUT at the Université Clermont-Auvergne in France. They are interested in the use of fictions in shaping the world of tomorrow, through imagination, and work on projects relating to supply chains and food systems.
Can you tell me a little about yourself? Where are you visiting from? What do you research?
I am French and I am originally from the Pyrenees. I am passionate about literature, architecture, meeting people, watching science fiction films and singing old songs. I like to discover new horizons and have a particular fondness, probably typical of my generation, for British pop culture. I have two fantastic grown-up daughters and I am visiting from Université Clermont-Auvergne (France).
My primary research interests are around questioning the future of logistics: crowd logistics, role and strategy of logistics service providers, sustainable supply chain management, and interactions between supply chain management and environmental scanning / prospective approaches.
How did you first get involved in research? What interested you about research?
I started researching as part of my PhD on the organisational arrangements for environmental scanning. How do companies organise to grasp information about the future of their environments? This forward-looking mindset underpins all my research. What I also like about research is the long-time frame, the possibility of maturing and advancing ideas, the constant interaction with companies and civil society at large and the impact we might have.
What drew you to this particular research?
Since 2021, my research in sustainable supply chain management has evolved into a more radical vision of strong sustainability. In particular, I am working on the use of fictions to shape the world of tomorrow through imagination. This is a point I share with Dr Anne Touboulic (UoN Business School), with whom I have developed a project on exploring futures for food systems.
Can you tell me about your current research projects?
The project I am working on with Dr Touboulic and Prof Valentina Carbone (ESCP Business School, Paris) explores how the future of food systems can be envisioned through the imagination deployed by the members of the system, namely farmers, producers, manufacturers, retailers, or consumers. I am also working on the Anthropocene society, notably the existence of visions of degrowth and sobriety in supply chain management as well as on raising the awareness of logistics operators to the climate transition.
How do you explain your research to ordinary people?
I tell them that I believe we need positive visions to project ourselves into a future of desirable degrowth and that I try to work on the development and transmission of these visions.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to be an engaged-scholar who fights, in all her commitments and actions, for a more socially just and environmentally sustainable world.
Do you have any advice for early career researchers?
I would like to tell them not to forget that what we do, we do above all for our students, to train them better, to accompany them better and for the society in which we find ourselves.
What is your greatest career moment?
Almost every moment is great, I am passionate about my job. The joy it brings me and the encounters it allows me to have, are more important than the few recognitions or advances that have marked my career.
Does your research affect ordinary people? If so, how?
I hope first of all that it affects my students, whom I try to engage in more and more reflection and critical thinking. My research themes are also inseparable from my civic commitment. I am a facilitator of the collaborative Climate Fresk workshop that teaches the fundamental science behind climate change and empowers people to take action. So yes, I really hope to have an impact, on my own scale and on the territories where I have the chance to play a part.
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