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Multi-tier sustainable supply chain management: a case study of a global food retailer

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-05, 15:07 authored by Adegboyega Oyedijo, Simonov Kusi-Sarpong, Muhammad Shujaat Mubarik, Sharfuddin Ahmed Khan, Kome Utulu
Implementing sustainable practices in multi-tier supply chains is a difficult task. This study investigates why such endeavours fail and how multi-tier supply chain partners can address them. A single case study of a global food retail company was used in this study. Semi-structured interviews with the case firm and its first- and second-tier suppliers were used to collect data, which was then qualitatively analysed using thematic analysis. Major barriers impeding the implementation of sustainability in multi-tier food supply chains were revealed such as the cost of sustainability, knowledge gap, lack of infrastructure, and supply chain complexity. Furthermore, the findings reveal five possible solutions such as multi-tier collaboration and partnership, diffusion of innovation along the chain, supply chain mapping, sustainability performance measurement, and capacity building, all of which can aid in the improvement of sustainability practices. Future research should investigate how specific barriers and drivers affect specific aspects of sustainability, pointing practitioners to specific links between the variables that can aid in tailoring sustainability oriented investment. This research supports managerial comprehension of multi-tier supply chain sustainability, pointing out ways to improve sustainability performance despite the complex multi-tier system of food supply chains. The research on multi-tier supply chain sustainability is still growing, and this research contributes to the debate about how multi-tier supply chains can become more sustainable from the perspective of the triple bottom line, particularly food supply chains which face significant sustainability challenges.


Author affiliation

School of Business, University of Leicester


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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Supply Chain Management





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