Over the past few years, corporate sustainability has become a
central element in business practice. Today’s multinational
corporations have started to publish sustainability reports, to
label their products or services, to redesign their products, or to
restructure their operations. With that they respond to the demands
of an increasingly sensitized public and growing legal restrictions.
However, corporations of all sizes struggle in either defining a
sound sustainability strategy, implementing this strategy, or even
in both. The high complexity of today’s global supply chains
makes it very difficult for them to control even the most critical
up- and down-stream steps.
The supply chain management literature provides little answers to these new challenges in business practice. The majority of articles focus on reverse logistics and green supply chains. Very few address the challenges of implementing sustainability strategies through supply chains of independent organizations.
Sustainability strategies are frequently differentiated into compliance and proactive strategies (Matten and Moon, 2008; Aragón-Correa, 1998). Compliance strategies reactively follow existing rules, norms and standards, which can be implicit or explicit (King and Lennox, 2000). Proactive sustainability strategies go beyond these and are implemented in order to increase competitiveness or broaden legitimacy (Rao and Holt, 2005; Hamprecht, 2006).
In the context of supply chain management, the creation and establishment of voluntary sustainability initiatives is one means to implement proactive sustainable supply chain strategies (Carmin et al., 2003; Hamprecht, 2006). Other options are e.g. bilateral agreements, in particular between buyers and sellers, sourcing or distribution policies, or internal instructions. So far, research has not addressed what options are most suitable under differing conditions. Among those options, voluntary sustainability initiatives are challenging ones to establish. They are considered to be time- and resource-inefficient in their creation and establishment, and to lack of support from strategic stakeholders and supply chain partners (e.g., Fowler and Heap, 1998; Hamprecht, 2006; Reinhardt, 2005; Nick et al., 2006).
Current research at the Chair of Logistics Management analyzed several in depth case studies of major voluntary sustainability initiatives and identified seven key capabilities that enable their establishment.
The proposed research project builds on the chair’s past and current research and aims at:
- developing a valid measurement model to capture the investigated phenomena,
- testing the causal effect of each of the seven key capabilities on the establishment of voluntary sustainability initiatives with a large-scale cross-sectional survey,
- controlling side effects, e.g. the differences between large- and small-scale voluntary sustainability initiatives, contingencies, or non-linearity, and
- identifying process patterns that describe the establishment of voluntary sustainability initiatives.
Sustainable Supply Chain Management, Implementation
|type||applied research project|
|start of project||2009|
|end of project||2009|
Sustainable Supply Chain Management
Structural Equation Modeling