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Sustainable supply chain management is the answer to more sustainable food production and consumption.

Doctoral dissertation defence on 2 December.
Olga Chkanikova
Olga Chkanikova defends her doctoral dissertation on 2 December 2016.

Can unsustainable patterns of food production and consumption become more sustainable through corporate practices of sustainable supply chain management? Yes they can, argues Olga Chkanikova in her doctoral dissertation, focusing on how retailers purchasing strategies can contribute to promoting availability of sustainably produced food. In her dissertation Olga advances the understanding of how retailers can manage their relationships with suppliers to successfully green the product supply. Olga defends her dissertation Sustainable Supply Chain Management in Food Retailing: Insights into corporate practice of managing supplier relationships on 2 December at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University.

Addressing sustainability concerns in the food supply chain has been a constant challenge.

- The focus of my dissertation has been to investigate the sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) practices in food retailing as a strategy to create environmentally and socially responsible food supply chains, says Olga Chkanikova.

By analyzing SSCM practices, such as ways of managing supplier relationships and associated institutions to influence and control product compliance with environmental and social criteria, Olga Chkanikova has advanced the understanding of how retailers can promote availability of sustainably produced food.

Among the successful retailers practices to facilitate availability of sustainably produced food are development of private eco-brands and novel third-party sustainability certifications.

- The co-branding mechanism, in the form of developing privately eco-branded products, certified by existing or novel third-party certification schemes, appears to have greater impact on availability of green product supply, compared when only existing third-party certification schemes are used, suggests Olga Chkanikova.

- More specifically, my study demonstrates that corporate choice of relationship management practices with suppliers to green a product supply depends on: 1) the contextual realities of the broader institutional field, 2) the specificity of the supply chain/transactional context, 3) the interplay between these two contexts, and 4) the design of the existing sustainability certification schemes.

- Unlike the majority of previous research, my findings indicate that retailers engagement with greening a product supply does not necessarily require development of supplier collaboration, and secondly, multiplicity of certification schemes might even be advantageous in terms of increasing the corporate propensity to engage with greening a product supply, clarifies Olga Chkanikova.

Olga Chkanikova has been examining SSCM practices among Swedish and West European food retailers, with focus on managing supplier relationships in two product groups of fresh fruits & vegetables and coffee. Companies included in the study, although studied with different degrees of detail, are ICA, COOP and Axfood (Sweden), Waitrose, Morrisons and Tesco (UK), Migros (Switzerland), Royal Ahold (Netherlands) and IRMA (Denmark).

- My overarching research design can be best described as a multiple embedded case study design, with 28 semi-structured interviews serving as a primary source of empirical evidence, explains Olga Chkanikova.

The study develops a dynamic and contextual perspective on the SSCM phenomenon, building on insights offered by the New Institutional Economics theory and a broader field of institutional analysis, as well as perspectives offered by a Dynamic Capabilities theory.

- This dissertation moves research in the field of SSCM away from simple inventories of SSCM practices towards more theory-building, and  advances the understanding for corporate practitioners and policy-makers of how supply chains can be effectively and efficiently governed in order to promote sustainable food production and consumption, concludes Olga Chkanikova.

Doctoral Dissertation Defence

On 2 December 2016 at 10:00 in the IIIEE Aula, Olga Chkanikova will defend her doctoral dissertation: Sustainable Supply Chain Management in Food Retailing: Insights into corporate practice of managing supplier relationships, at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University.

For more information, please contact:

Olga Chkanikova, author of the dissertation, olga [dot] chkanikova [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor Oksana Mont, PhD supervisor, oksana [dot] mont [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se 

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