The Social Logistics Challenge

Student Team registration for the 2024 Social Logistics Challenge will open in August.

GBSN welcomes learners from various fields to form teams and engage in an international virtual contest centered on devising solutions for social logistics issues. Upon finishing the competition, participants have the opportunity to earn an international micro-credential.

The Social Logistics Challenge is designed to immerse learners in a digital environment that promotes team-work, encourages collaboration, and stimulates innovation in addressing societal problems using logistics principles and technology.


This challenge integrated this core logistics philosophy into the innovative study of social logistics, introducing a human aspect to the systems and applying logistics principles and methods to solve societal issues. Social Logistics presents both an unexplored territory and a unique chance for business students to collaborate with peers from different fields, integrating their expertise to create business solutions emphasizing social responsibility and awareness. Last year, the Social Logistics Challenge introduced a human factor into logistics’ systems and applies logistic principles and methods to tackle societal issues.

GBSN aims to utilize the strengths of Social Logistics, including conventional supply chain knowledge, humanitarian logistics, communication, programming, and technology. The Social Logistics Challenge will persist as a team-based virtual contest promoting interdisciplinary and multi-university cooperation.

The Challenge.

Identify and define a social logistics problem in a community and propose an actionable business solution to address the problem. Social logistics involves applying logistics principles and methods to solve societal issues by considering human factors. The proposed solution should be relevant to the local community, outline the involved stakeholders, and demonstrate its alignment with one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Teams are encouraged to identify any technological disruptions within the problem and/or illustrate the role of technology in their solution.


As a Final Judge for the second consecutive year, this competition has been an enriching experience, and I wholeheartedly believe it deserves recognition and commendation. What sets this competition apart is its unwavering commitment to addressing real-life challenges that our society faces today. The students participating in this competition are not just presenting theoretical ideas but actively seeking solutions to pressing issues that impact our communities. Their dedication to creating positive change is truly commendable.

Pamela Steele

Supply Chain Transformation Director, Pamela Steele Associates, United Kingdom
This year’s challenge was a really interesting one and it helped us better understand the global dynamics and challenges. It was such an amazing journey to engage with global business leaders and pitch our dream ideas to them.”

2023 Top 5 Team

How does it work?

Register your team.

We encourage multi-disciplinary teams of 2-5 students from different schools, disciplines, and levels. Schools are welcome to have more than one team. GBSN will not accept individual registrations. Teams must be made of students who are currently enrolled in an institution.

Identify a local problem.

Use your logistical knowledge and training to improve a societal access problem. Be sure to identify the community of this problem, the multiple stakeholders involved, and most importantly, how this solution supports one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Develop your solution.

Develop a unique and implementable solution that can be used in a locally-relevant context. Demonstrate that solution in a creative format. This year, we are encouraging highlights of technology disruptions or solutions.


Each team will prepare a Solutions Package that will incorporate both written and visual elements. Teams will submit a written report and a visual creative illustration.

Solution Package

Written Report.

The written report must be no longer than 5 pages in length (double spaced) and must be in English or with English translations. It should be submitted as a PDF and should be organized into the following:

  • Problem Statement:
    • Social logistics related problem
    • Understanding the problem as it relates to its context
    • Proof of research
  • Solution development and implementation plan:
    • Business concept(s) applied in the solution
    • Proof of research
  • UN Sustainable Development Goal(s) addressed:
    • Define the UN SDG
    • Illustrate how the solution addresses the UN SDG
  • The role of technology:
    • Technological disruptions within the problem / the role of technology in the solution

GBSN does not require a specific template for submissions, MLA, APA, etc. is suitable. We are mainly concerned with the content.

Solution Package

Creative Illustration.

Creative Illustrations can include any format with visuals, such as videos, powerpoint presentations, interviews, infographics, posters, podcasts, etc. They can be submitted in PowerPoint, Google Slides, MOV, MP4, JPEG, and PNG files. Teams are encouraged to think out of the box, engage local participants in their field work, and capture local perspectives from key stakeholders.

The illustration must be in English or with an English translation. If videos are submitted, they must be limited to 3 minutes in length and include english subtitles, if relevant.

Creative illustrations should address the following:

  • Region represented
  • Social Logistics problem clearly identified
  • Business solution
  • Human factor
  • Related UN SDG(s)
  • Role of technology

Award Guidelines

Thanks to our Sponsors, a $5,000 scholarship prize will be awarded to the 1st place team, and $1,000 to the 2nd and 3rd place teams! The awards will be transferred via the students’ respective institution’s financial department and evenly distributed among the winning team members. The funds must be used towards educational expenses such as school materials, housing, tuitions, and programs. The management and disbursement of the funds fall under the responsibility of the university/college/faculty mentor. Teams are advised to consult with their universities about their disbursement policies.

Judging Criteria

Each solutions package should illustrate and consider the following:

  1. The solution must solve a problem related to access
  2. The solution must clearly demonstrate components of logistics principles, including, but not limited, to supply chain management
  3. The solution must benefit society whether on a local or global scale
  4. The solution must be locally relevant and multidisciplinary
  5. The solution must clearly incorporate one or more of the 17 SDGs
  6. The problem and/or solution must integrate a human aspect and digital element

Judging Process

Judging for this competition will happen in two phases. Phase 1 involves preliminary judging, that ultimately determines the Top Five teams to advance to the Finals Round. The Finals Round involves LIVE presentations to a panel of judges, that ultimately determines the 1st Place Winner.

Preliminary judges will review all submitted deliverables to ultimately determine the following:

  • How well your team describes the problem and its local relevance
  • Whether or not your team demonstrates creativity
  • Whether or not the solution your team develops is feasible
  • How your solution addresses one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • How does your solution address the intersection between people and technology?
Team MIT Sloan presentation in 2021 HUMLOG Challenge.

Finals Round: LIVE Presentations

The Top 5 teams will deliver a LIVE presentation to a panel of international judges

10-minute pitch presentation delivered LIVE to judges.

  • All team members must participate in the LIVE pitch for the team to be eligible to win the prize. Participation is defined as a minimum of 1 minute of speaking during the presentation. 
  • Teams can include supplemental materials to support their LIVE presentations in the finals round, including their creative illustration.

A 15-minute Q&A with the judges.

  • All team members must be present for the LIVE pitch presentation and virtual Q&A
  • Judge and team participation will be moderated by a GBSN staff member to keep time and ensure equal distribution of participation between judges and teams
  • The LIVE Pitch Presentations and Q&A portion will be recorded and broadcasted LIVE for the public to watch

Examples of Qualifying Solutions

The following are a few examples of previous qualifying social logistics solutions. Please make sure to integrate technology for this year. You can email the GBSN team if you would like us to check your problem/solution!

Example 1

As GBSN has learned from working with CIPE in Papua New Guinea, starting a business is challenging due to economic climate, government regulations, and local support. A student team from PNG could develop a solution surrounding logistically establishing a business incubation site in their local community.

Example 2

Ethiopia is a large producer of honey wine, known as Tej, however, local sellers are having difficulty storing and selling large quantities to wholesalers, especially in the current war-torn environment. Student teams could collaborate to configure a plan for mass production of Tej to assist their local economies, while keeping the businesses safe.

Example 3

Crane and Company has been providing paper for the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing since the late 17th century.  As the digital age becomes more apparent and less businesses take cash, there are several problems that can arise.  Several emerging economies, especially in the Caribbean and Latin America still rely on the US dollar for forms of payment. How can students find a solution to help the printers, distributors, and users of cash?

Example 4

Even in very economically developed countries, such as Australia, people become equal in the wake of climate change. Floods, droughts, and wildfires are among the largest forces to affect Australia’s natural habitat. How can students develop a safety preparedness logistics solution to protect the natural environment in the event of these wild occurrences and keep people safe?

Example 5

In the United States, school and mass shootings have unfortunately become widely prevalent. California has set itself apart with more shootings than any other state. A logistical solution could explore the supply chain of guns in specific cities within the state, including a look into which stores are selling weapons, and how they are abiding by the law. 

Example 6

As we all know, the invasion of Ukraine has affected nations across the globe, especially in neighboring European countries.  As countries, such as Germany, are sanctioning Russian oil, there is a massive effect on transportation within the country.  German students could look into alternative transportation logistics or even gas/oil supply chains within their communities that do not support the war.

Example 7

Education in several countries in Africa is a challenging feat, but especially in territories affected by militias and war, such as in Northeastern Nigeria, affected by Boko Haram. How can students come together to develop a solution that helps children in these areas achieve education safely?

Example 8

In the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, refugees depend on food assistance, usually in the form of vouchers.  Oftentimes, these are not always the most nutritious foods, rather they are inexpensive and easy to ship.  What solutions can be developed by teams to provide nutritionally sustainable foods to these camps?


GBSN would like to thank its sponsors for supporting the Social Logistics Competition! Sponsorship is used to fund the Challenge’s prizes, tools, resources, etc. that enables GBSN to build and execute a meaningful virtual learning experience for each cohort of student teams.

DHL Global Forwarding

Helping consumers connect goods to every corner of the world since 1815.  As a leading organization in logistics, DHL Global Forwarding inhibits global trade by promising to always offer reliable, flexible, and efficient deliveries to and from every country globally, in total compliance with local regulations. DHL Global Forwarding partners with businesses, listens to their needs and takes action by collecting and collaborating with their networks and partners across the whole journey.

The University of Edinburgh Business School

The University of Edinburgh Business School maintains a clear mission, focus and vision for the future including advancing their standing among business schools and being recognised as a progressive and connected community for thought leadership on the national and global stage. In essence this translates to “inspiring people to do business better”. Edinburgh Business School’s mission is to develop effective and responsible leaders by creating insightful knowledge and inspiring minds in dialogue with the world around them.  Their vision is to be recognised as a progressive and connected community for thought leadership on the international business stage.

The Kühne Foundation

The non-profit Kühne Foundation was established by the Kühne family in Switzerland in 1976. Today it is renowned for its initiatives to support academic and further education as well as research in the fields of logistics and supply chain management. The Kühne Foundation is also strongly involved in medical, cultural and humanitarian projects. It is an operative foundation, which develops almost all of its projects itself. Through its extensive funding projects, the Kühne Foundation and its donor Klaus-Michael Kühne exercise their socio-political responsibility.The Kühne Foundation pursues the goal of supporting and developing logistics as an academic field. Logistics plays a cross-sectional function in the global economy and is currently facing major challenges – one clear example being the coronavirus crisis. Digitalisation, along with the call for climate and environment protection are leading to transformations that require innovative approaches.

The Resiliency Intiative

The Resiliency Initiative (TRI) is a certified Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) with Fortune 500, government, military and non-profit leadership experience specializing in business continuity, crisis, security, and risk mitigation planning and training services.