Responsibility in the Supply Chain: Interorganisational management of environmental and social aspects in the supply chain - Case studies from the textile sector

University dissertation from The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, IIIEE

Abstract: This thesis is about the intersection between Corporate Social Responsibility and Supply Chain Management. I call this upstream CSR, the phenomenon that arises when an issue on a company’s CSR agenda becomes an issue for its sourcing and supply management operations. Upstream CSR as a phenomenon is not without controversies, but it also holds an important potential for reducing negative environmental, and social, impacts associated with production and consumption. Companies’ ability to manage, and assume responsibility for, environmental aspects upstream in their respective supply chains is in fact critical if we are to realise the promise of life cycle thinking. A deeper understanding of this phenomenon is therefore of relevance not just for corporate practitioners but also for policy makers and any other group of stakeholders who seek to reduce the environmental impacts of products in a life cycle perspective. Through the means of two in-depth case studies in the textile sector, each covering several tiers of a specific supply chain, this thesis provides a deeper understanding of how companies may address the task of influencing and verifying environmental and social aspects that occur upstream in the supply chain. By combining the findings from the empirical research with an in-depth review of pertinent literature this thesis also provides a framework through which this complex phenomenon can be understood and further explored.

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