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Agri-food supply chains and sustainability-related issues: evidence from across the Scottish agri-food economy


  • Leat, Philip M.K.
  • Lamprinopoulou-Kranis, Chrysa
  • Revoredo-Giha, Cesar
  • Kupiec-Teahan, Beata


This paper examines the influence of agri-food supply chains on the sustainability-related activities and decisions of Scottish farmers, as well as the treatment of sustainability issues by food processors and retailers themselves. It is based on 8 whole chain case studies covering some of Scotland‘s major agricultural products. The cases identify differing levels of understanding and activities related to sustainability, but widespread acknowledgement that sustainability involves the development of chains within which all parties can achieve acceptable profits. Indeed, collaborative supply chains, which seek improved economic performance, frequently assist environmental and social sustainability. The main drivers of sustainability are found to be the cost of key inputs, product markets where customers increasingly seek sustainability in products, the ethos and values of the businesses and people involved, and legislation and strategies of industry bodies. At the farm level, many farmers are seeking more sustainable production systems, particularly in economic and environmental terms, but there is a need for greater guidance and assistance. The paper presents a review of several key food supply sustainability issues, the methods and concepts used in compiling and analysing the cases, as well as the principal findings and implications for agri-food supply chain and policy development.

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  • Leat, Philip M.K. & Lamprinopoulou-Kranis, Chrysa & Revoredo-Giha, Cesar & Kupiec-Teahan, Beata, 2011. "Agri-food supply chains and sustainability-related issues: evidence from across the Scottish agri-food economy," 85th Annual Conference, April 18-20, 2011, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 108952, Agricultural Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aesc11:108952

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gerbens-Leenes, P. W. & Moll, H. C. & Schoot Uiterkamp, A. J. M., 2003. "Design and development of a measuring method for environmental sustainability in food production systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 231-248, September.
    2. Xiaoyong Zhang & Lusine H. Aramyan, 2009. "A conceptual framework for supply chain governance: An application to agri-food chains in China," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 1(2), pages 136-154, January.
    3. Philip Leat & Cesar Revoredo-Giha & Chrysa Lamprinopoulou, 2011. "Scotland’s Food and Drink Policy Discussion: Sustainability Issues in the Food Supply Chain," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-27, March.
    4. Heller, Martin C. & Keoleian, Gregory A., 2003. "Assessing the sustainability of the US food system: a life cycle perspective," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 1007-1041, June.
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    More about this item


    Sustainability; Food; Supply chain; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Q13; Q18;

    JEL classification:

    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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