One size does not fit all: A qualitative research on how mid-size companies in the garment industry deal with possible challenges regarding bargaining power in the supply chain when implementing environmental initiatives

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The high amount of pollution in production processes in the garment industry requires buying companies to engage in environmental sustainable supply chain management. Mid-size companies, however, often lack the bargaining power in the supply chain to pressure their suppliers to implement environmental initiatives, due to a relatively low amount of resources. Therefore, mid-size companies face specific challenges when implementing environmental initiatives in the supply chain and have specific ways in dealing with these challenges. This case study at two mid-size buying companies in the garment industry found that low bargaining power can have multiple challenging implications with regard to transparency, supplier motivation and sub-suppliers upstream the supply chain. Some buyer-supplier relationship aspects and supplier development activities were identified as important aspects in dealing with these challenges and compensating for low bargaining power when implementing environmental initiatives. This study contributes to the literature on environmental sustainable supply chain management by providing insight in the way low bargaining power expresses itself in the supply chain and how mid-size companies can use their relationship with its suppliers and certain supplier development activities in this challenge.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen