Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 159-170

First online:

Supply Chain Specific? Understanding the Patchy Success of Ethical Sourcing Initiatives

  • Sarah RobertsAffiliated withNational Centre for Business and Sustainability, Giants Basin, Potato Wharf

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As a number of high profile companies have found to their cost, corporate reputations can be significantly affected by firms' management of sustainability issue, including those that are outside their direct control, such as the environmental and social impacts of their supply networks. This paper begins by examining the relationship between corporate social responsibility, reputation, and supply network conditions. It then looks at the effectiveness of one tool for managing supply network sustainability issues, ethical sourcing codes of conduct, by examining how the characteristics of three supply networks branded clothes, DIY wood products and branded confectionary affects the implementation ethical sourcing codes of conduct. It ends by setting out conclusions on why implementation of such codes has been so much more successful in some sectors than others and recommendations on effective approaches to managing sustainability issues in supply networks.