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Sustainability Prerequisites and Practices in Textile and Apparel Supply Chains

Ronak Warasthe , Finja Schulz , Ralf Enneking , Marcus Brandenburg
Published: 27 November 2020
 by  MDPI AG
Sustainability , Volume 12; doi:10.3390/su12239960

Abstract: The proposed study deals with sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) in the textile and apparel (T&A) industry. We analyze prerequisites and practices of supply chain (SC) sustainability in a multiple case study of the German and Ethiopian T&A industry. Our analysis is based on ten semi-structured interviews conducted with the managers of seven companies in the Ethiopian T&A production and the German fair fashion retail industries. The contribution of expert knowledge helps in identifying SC sustainability prerequisites and practices. The chosen cases of production in Ethiopia and retail in Germany highlight the complexity of T&A SCs while representing both the suppliers’ and retailers’ perspectives, which is rare in the related literature. As a major research contribution, the study adapts a framework for SC sustainability in the chemical industry and transfers it to T&A SCs. Moreover, practitioners from the T&A industry find useful insights into relevant practices and their prerequisites, which helps in improving SC sustainability in this sector. The study reveals that management orientation and interest groups such as customers represent the most important prerequisites for sustainability. Manufacturers rely more on internal practices such as monitoring, while retailers focus on external sustainability practices, such as supplier development. In a comparative approach, similarities and differences between T&A SCs and the chemical industry are identified.
Keywords: sustainable development / Supply Chain Management / Germany / Ethiopia / case study research / Textile and Apparel Industry

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