Why Supply Chain Sustainability Matters for Developing Countries’ Apparel Suppliers? An Integrated Framework

  • Shobod Deba NathEmail author
  • Gabriel Eweje
  • Ralph Bathurst
Part of the CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance book series (CSEG)


Increasingly, sustainability and supply chain management have been raising significant attention from industry leaders, academics and policy makers worldwide. Consequently, many global brand-owning firms are engaging in sustainability programmes in order to improve economic, social and environmental performance within their supply chains. Nevertheless, buying firms are facing challenges to implement sustainability practices at the supplier’s level, mostly when outsourcing from a developing country suppliers. Conversely, Developing Country suppliers face dilemma due to their critical viewpoints towards sustainability standards as specific control mechanisms which could increase manufacturing costs, and eventually reduce competitiveness in the global market. As such, the implementation of sustainability practices is perceived as plain box-ticking exercise, and remains fragmented as institutionalized myths among these suppliers.

Against this background, this study provides an integrated multi-disciplinary framework to understand (a) why supply chain sustainability matters for Developing Country apparel suppliers and (b) what mechanisms are likely to emerge for integrating sustainability practices into their supply chains. This framework integrates several theoretical perspectives to guide the research inquiry. Based on in-depth investigation from the extant literature and other secondary sources, this paper argues that embedding sustainability practices into multi-tier apparel suppliers could be influenced by a confluence of governance mechanisms. These mechanisms are drivers (instrumental and moral) as well as forces (coercive, mimetic and normative), which are formed as a result of sustained pressures from global and local institutional actors. Accordingly, this study offers two propositions, which can be used for future empirical research and theory development in the context of Developing Country apparel supply chains.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shobod Deba Nath
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabriel Eweje
    • 1
  • Ralph Bathurst
    • 1
  1. 1.Massey UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand

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