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When sustainability becomes an order winner: linking supply uncertainty and sustainable supply chain strategies

Ciccullo, Federica, Pero, Margherita, Gosling, Jonathan ORCID:, Caridi, Maria and Purvis, Laura ORCID: 2020. When sustainability becomes an order winner: linking supply uncertainty and sustainable supply chain strategies. Sustainability 12 (15) , pp. 6009-6035. 10.3390/su12156009

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This study investigates how to implement a sustainable supply chain strategy by choosing a set of sustainable practices while considering the strategic priority assigned to sustainability within a company’s competitive strategy (i.e., an order winner (OW), market qualifier (MQ) or desirable attribute (DA)). Therefore, two research questions arise: RQ1. What are the sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) practices adopted by companies under the different levels of priority assigned to sustainability (i.e., OW, MQ and DA)? and RQ2. How does supply uncertainty influence the choices regarding the SSCM practices to adopt or vice versa? We addressed these questions through a two-step methodology that includes 10 exploratory case studies in different industries and four explanatory cases in the furniture industry. Six research propositions are developed, and we show how some sustainable practices are common to all companies in the sample, while others are only applicable when sustainability is an MQ or an OW. Moreover, in contrast to the suggestion in the literature, we observed that companies with sustainability as an OW implement sustainability practices despite increasing exposure to supply uncertainty. However, when sustainability is a DA or an MQ, companies might implement sustainable practices with the aim of reducing supply uncertainty rather than for sustainability goals. The cases show that investment in these practices can trigger a transition towards a situation in which sustainability is an OW.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2071-1050
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 22 June 2020
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 23:41

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