The influence of corporate social responsibility embeddedness on sustainable purchasing practices

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In the current literature, it has been documented that Western lead firms possess power over their suppliers in global supply chains. Western lead firms can use this power to adopt the most favourable purchasing practices. However, for Western lead firms favourable purchasing practices can have negative implications on labour standards downstream of the supply chain. This study examines the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) embeddedness and sustainable purchasing practices within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in the agriculture sector. The aim is to capture the influence of CSR embeddedness on sustainable purchasing practices. This study contributes to the existing literature by researching this influence within SMEs, an area that is currently under-researched. A qualitative abductive multiple-case study has been conducted. Employees from two case organisations active in the agriculture sector were interviewed to gain an in-depth understanding of the influence of CSR embeddedness on sustainable purchasing practices. In addition, a document analysis of publicly available and company private documents is conducted. This study found a positive relationship between CSR embeddedness on sustainable purchasing practices. Data suggests that CSR embeddedness stimulates more formal CSR-related rules. In addition, CSR embeddedness seems to be counterintuitive for purchasing, as purchasers feel CSR is already dealt with in the preliminary stage of purchasing. Therefore, if a SME wants to improve labour standards downstream of the supply chain, it should make their purchasers aware that their own actions also have implications on how sustainable the purchasing practices actually are.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen