Extending Sustainability Objectives Across Supplier Networks: An Exploratory Study of the Agricultural Industry in Uganda

This study aims to develop a better understanding of how organizations within agricultural supply chains extend sustainability objectives across a network of suppliers. There has been extensive focus in the literature on sustainable supplier management practices focusing on first-tier suppliers, but little is known on how firms reach out to subsuppliers, as one of the main challenges for companies is the identification of its subsuppliers. This study focuses first on the activities of the focal firm, second on the perception sub-suppliers have of these activities and finally on the role of service providers towards the implementation of sustainable initiatives across suppliers in multiple agricultural supply chains. The findings suggest a lack of integration of subsuppliers in the supply chain, and subsuppliers stated a tendency for ‘mandated’ management practices when sustainability efforts were extended to them. These initiatives are characterized by high participation costs for sub-suppliers and uncertain benefits and resulted in not fully committed sub-suppliers. A shared vision by all parties within the supply chain relationship, is developing collaborative management practices that receives full support from all parties involved. Especially the involvement of service providers within the supply chains exhibit these collaborative practices that amplify the adoption of sustainable practices by sub-suppliers. This study addresses the management of sub-suppliers through a sustainable supply chain perspective and provides insights that enhance the understanding of sub-supplier management practices focused on sustainability initiatives that can serve further research and development of theory. Managerial implications, limitations, and opportunities for further research are detailed.
Supplier Networks, Agricultural Industry
Gronheid, M., Wickert, C., Katamba, D., & Seruma, A. (2016). AGRI-QUEST.https://knowledge4food.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Agri-Quest-Research-Paper-Series-No6_Gronheid-et-al_2016.pdf