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New Strategies to Improve Sustainability through Supplier Assessment

Eugénie Wateau and Juliana Kucht Campos

A chapter in Sustainability in Logistics and Supply Chain Management: New Designs and Strategies, 2015, pp 95-120 from Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute of Business Logistics and General Management

Abstract: Sustainability is today consolidated as a mandatory business rule. Multinational companies whose operations affect economies, societies and environment worldwide, are key triggers to transform supply chains towards sustainable development. In this context, this paper aims to understand how some German companies have been using supplier assessment as a new strategy to improve their sustainability. The content analysis method was used to collect and analyse materials published in corporate responsibility reports, annual reports and corporate websites. The selected companies, Beiersdorf, Heidelberg Cement, MAN, RWE and ThyssenKrupp, are important players in different industries. The findings offer valuable examples of initiatives such as development of specific requirements for assessing suppliers, adoption of international standards, use of specific strategies to stimulate communication with suppliers, among others. However, it was also clear the lack of investments in areas that might offer interesting results for increasing network sustainability. Imprecise goals, problems with data visibility and managerial failures in projects with supply chain partners hinder continuous improvements towards a collaborative approach. The process of assessing suppliers in attempt to monitor and encourage sustainability practices is still limited. Moreover this paper highlights the need of innovative and concrete actions to align business, environment and society within supply chain partners.

Keywords: Sustainability; Supply Chain; Practices; Supplier Assessment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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