Supporting sustainability in customer-supplier relationships: Barriers for SMEs in the UK organic food industry.
Authors: Ngugi, I.K., Johnsen, R.E., Erdélyi, P. and Eng, T.-Y.
Start date: 16 September 2010
Customer-supplier relationships have become an increasingly important mechanism for driving and supporting sustainable supply network developments. However, there have been limited studies to date that examine barriers to the adoption of sustainability from a small and medium-sized firm (SME) perspective. Our study focuses on identifying the barriers to sustainability for smaller suppliers in relationships with larger customers in the UK organic food industry. The findings of the study identify firm-specific, customer-supplier relationship specific, industry-specific, and macro-environment specific barriers for smaller suppliers to achieving sustainability in relationships with their larger customers. Our contribution lies in the identification of a set of internal and external barriers to sustainability for smaller suppliers in relationships with larger customers. The paper offers insights for managers of supplier and customer firms in identifying and managing barriers to sustainability in their relationships.