Integrating Sustainability into the Supply Chain: the Analysis of the Approach of a Sportswear Company Speedo
Baeva, Natalia (2011) Integrating Sustainability into the Supply Chain: the Analysis of the Approach of a Sportswear Company Speedo. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)
Supply chain performance is one of the critical factors for companies in the process of achievement of long-term successful sustainable development and competitive advantage. As many companies from developed countries outsourced the manufacturing of their products to the developing countries, the control over the supply chain has become more complicated. The existence of risks in the market and non-market environment makes the global companies become careful about the socially responsible behaviour, not only within the borders of the enterprises over which they have direct control, but also about the business practices of the direct and third-party suppliers. MNCs with well-known brands are in a particular focus of the stakeholders all over the world. Textile and sportswear companies were especially targeted by the activist groups for the existence of social problems in their suppliers’ factories in the developing countries. These problems are generic for the whole industry and even large corporations have not achieved a significant progress in their eradication. For medium-sized global companies to find a solution is even more difficult as often they lack the bargaining power in their relationships with suppliers. Previously researchers focused on the performance of large sportswear companies, such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok, leaving aside the problems that medium-sized niche sportswear companies, such as Speedo, meet when they try to integrate sustainability in their supply chains. This study suggests that though it is complicated for global medium-sized companies to eliminate social issues in their supply chains, there are mechanisms that will help to improve the situation. First of all, effective proactive relationships with the stakeholders, collaboration with the competitors through industry associations, with international and local NGOs are valuable for the promotion of principles of medium-sized companies directed on the improvements of the social standards in the developing countries on the industry level and for the elimination of the risks in the external environment. In terms of the development of the sustainable relationships with the suppliers, it is important for companies to be consistent in their social policies and communicate them clearly to the partners. Two way open communications, orientation on the continuous improvements of the situation and establishment of mutually beneficial relationships between the participants of the supply chain will help companies to achieve a shared vision on the corporate social responsibility with the partners, trust and rapport between them and eventually will result in the long-term sustainable development.
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