New Strategies to Improve Sustainability through Supplier Assessment

TitleNew Strategies to Improve Sustainability through Supplier Assessment
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWateau, E, Campos, JKucht
EditorBlecker, T, Kersten, W, Ringle, CM
Title of ProceedingsSustainability in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Conference LocationHamburg
ISBN Number978-3-7375-6206-5
Other NumbersISSN (print) 2365-4430, ISSN (online) 2365-5070
KeywordsPractices, Supplier Assessment, Supply Chain, Sustainability

Sustainability is today consolidated as a mandatory business rule. Multinational
companies whose operations affect economies, societies and environment worldwide,
are key triggers to transform supply chains towards sustainable development.
In this context, this paper aims to understand how some German companies have
been using supplier assessment as a new strategy to improve their sustainability.
The content analysis method was used to collect and analyse materials published in
corporate responsibility reports, annual reports and corporate websites. The selected
companies, Beiersdorf, Heidelberg Cement, MAN, RWE and ThyssenKrupp, are
important players in different industries. The findings offer valuable examples of initiatives
such as development of specific requirements for assessing suppliers, adoption
of international standards, use of specific strategies to stimulate communication
with suppliers, among others. However, it was also clear the lack of investments
in areas that might offer interesting results for increasing network sustainability. Imprecise
goals, problems with data visibility and managerial failures in projects with
supply chain partners hinder continuous improvements towards a collaborative approach.
The process of assessing suppliers in attempt to monitor and encourage sustainability
practices is still limited. Moreover this paper highlights the need of innovative
and concrete actions to align business, environment and society within supply
chain partners.