Implementing Sustainability In Multi-Tier Supply Chains: Strategies and Contingencies In Managing Sub-Suppliers

Miriam Wilhelm, Constantin Blome*, Ellen Wieck, Chengyong Xiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Buying firms must pay increased attention to supply chain sustainability issues, as stakeholders might hold them responsible for non-sustainable supply chain activities. Frequently, sustainability problems occur upstream at the sub-supplier level. Building on the literature on multi-tier supply chains (MSCs), we investigated the sustainability management strategies of buying firms in the food, apparel, packaging, and consumer electronics with regard to second-tier suppliers and beyond. In particular, we analyzed seven cases of global MSCs and found four different characteristic MSC types-open, closed, third party, and "don't bother". We identified three main factors-supply chain complexity, the sustainability management capabilities of the first-tier supplier, and the type of sustainability in focus (i.e., environmental or social sustainability)-that determine when and how buying firms actually extend their sustainability strategies to their sub-suppliers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-212
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Volume182
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2016

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Buying firm strategies
  • Multi-tier supply chains
  • Case studies
  • OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
  • SOCIAL-RESPONSIBILITY
  • BUILDING THEORIES
  • MODERATING ROLE
  • PERFORMANCE
  • IMPACT
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • NETWORKS
  • INTEGRATION
  • INDUSTRY

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