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Sustainability assessment in the German detergent industry: from stakeholder involvement to sustainability indicators


  • Stefan A. Seuring

    (Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany)

  • Julia Koplin

    (Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany)

  • Torsten Behrens

    (Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany)

  • Uwe Schneidewind

    (Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany)


Since the early years of environmentalism, the detergent industry has been under pressure from NGOs and consumers. While the path towards an integrated product policy has been set, further developments towards sustainability are necessary. In a project conducted by the University of Oldenburg in cooperation with the German Detergent Manufacturers Association (IKW), future potentials for sustainable development were investigated. From this, a set of indicators was developed. This paper will review the project methodology, where a stakeholder assessment plays a key role, and present some findings. Stakeholder interviews and two workshops allowed discovery of the central issues to be tackled by the German detergent industry. The environmental product life-cycle and stakeholder concept provide the theoretical basis for the so called sustainability matrices, one each for the environmental, economic and social dimensions. These matrices were used to facilitate discussions regarding relevant sustainability issues and indicators. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan A. Seuring & Julia Koplin & Torsten Behrens & Uwe Schneidewind, 2003. "Sustainability assessment in the German detergent industry: from stakeholder involvement to sustainability indicators," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 199-212.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:11:y:2003:i:4:p:199-212
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.216

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Mueller & Virginia dos Santos & Stefan Seuring, 2009. "The Contribution of Environmental and Social Standards Towards Ensuring Legitimacy in Supply Chain Governance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(4), pages 509-523, November.
    2. Cory Searcy, 2012. "Corporate Sustainability Performance Measurement Systems: A Review and Research Agenda," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(3), pages 239-253, May.
    3. Miguel F. Salvado & Susana G. Azevedo & João C. O. Matias & Luís M. Ferreira, 2015. "Proposal of a Sustainability Index for the Automotive Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-32, February.
    4. Ismail Erol & Nigar Cakar & Derya Erel & Ramazan Sari, 2009. "Sustainability in the Turkish retailing industry," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 49-67.
    5. Adam Lindgreen & Michael Antioco & David Harness & Remi Sloot, 2009. "Purchasing and Marketing of Social and Environmental Sustainability for High-Tech Medical Equipment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 85(2), pages 445-462, April.

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