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Perceptions on the demand side and realities on the supply side: a study of the South African table grape export industry


  • Claribel Müller

    (Department of Law, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa)

  • Walter J. V. Vermeulen

    (Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation, Utrecht University, the Netherlands)

  • Pieter Glasbergen

    (Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation, Utrecht University, the Netherlands)


This article reports on the mechanisms of business-to-business regulation as governance approach in an agricultural supply chain. The article explores the activities of NGOs, government and business in promoting sustainable production. It focuses on the requirements set for producers in agro-food chains and the effects of NGO perceptions on these issues. The subsequent business standards set by retailers and other market role-players and the responses of producers are reported and the responsibility for achieving desired outputs is discussed. The research methodology included open interviews with various stakeholders in the chain, as well as structured questionnaires to determine practices on farms. From the findings it is clear that perceptions of European stakeholders differ substantially from the reality found in South Africa. This has consequences for producers, from both a social and a financial perspective. Understanding the role and function of NGOs, market role-players and national government in the governance of sustainable development in the South African-European table grape supply chain contributes to identifying barriers and opportunities to achieving sustainable practices in global supply chains. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Claribel Müller & Walter J. V. Vermeulen & Pieter Glasbergen, 2009. "Perceptions on the demand side and realities on the supply side: a study of the South African table grape export industry," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 295-310.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:17:y:2009:i:5:p:295-310
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.425

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Islam, Md. Saidul, 2008. "From pond to plate: Towards a twin-driven commodity chain in Bangladesh shrimp aquaculture," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 209-223, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beske, Philip & Land, Anna & Seuring, Stefan, 2014. "Sustainable supply chain management practices and dynamic capabilities in the food industry: A critical analysis of the literature," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 131-143.
    2. Vermeulen, W.J.V. & Kok, M.T.J., 2012. "Government interventions in sustainable supply chain governance: Experience in Dutch front-running cases," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 183-196.
    3. Sadaat Ali Yawar & Stefan Seuring, 2017. "Management of Social Issues in Supply Chains: A Literature Review Exploring Social Issues, Actions and Performance Outcomes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 621-643, March.
    4. Romy Morana & Stefan Seuring, 2011. "A Three Level Framework for Closed-Loop Supply Chain Management—Linking Society, Chain and Actor Level," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-14, April.
    5. Fritz, Morgane M.C. & Maxson, Peter A. & Baumgartner, Rupert J., 2016. "The mercury supply chain, stakeholders and their responsibilities in the quest for mercury-free gold," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 177-192.

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