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Making standards work


  • Stigzelius, Ingrid


Social and environmental standards can function as tools for companies that want to improve their conduct in social and environmental areas in the supply chain. However, relatively little attention has been given to how the adoption of social and environmental standards may influence the actual business practices in the supply chain. The overall aim of this thesis is to examine the institutional context surrounding the adoption of social and environmental standards and how these standards influence the business practices in the supply chain. The thesis consists of two papers that explore two different standards in two different supply chain contexts. The empirical material is based on case studies where interviews with key persons provide the main source of evidence. The case studies are backed up by previous studies in the field. In this thesis, the two papers are framed and analyzed with the aid of literature around the phenomenon of standards. Paper I explores factory managers' perceptions of the labour standard SA8000 in the Indian clothing supply chain. Buyer requirements and hopes for competitive advantage provide incentives for the factory managers to implement SA8000. Obstacles associated with SA8000 are costs for certification, increased labour costs and infrastructure investments. Although buyers require the standard, they do not offer any support so that the standard represents a safe investment. Nevertheless, the standard may lead to business opportunities in terms of better reputation, which may lead to increased orders and lower labour turnover. Paper II explores professional purchasers' perceptions of the organic food standard KRAV in the Swedish catering supply chain. The study identifies procurement conditions for beef and the associated obstacles and opportunities with purchasing organic beef. Obstacles with organic beef are high costs, low volumes, inefficient distribution and low consumer demand. In the public sector, political goals and altered procurement practices provide opportunities for purchasing organic beef. In the commercial sector, organic beef can provide grounds for differentiation.

Suggested Citation

  • Stigzelius, Ingrid, 2009. "Making standards work," Department of Economics publications 2140, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sua:ekonwp:2140

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jansson, Hans & Sharma, D. Deo, 1993. "Industrial policy liberalization and TNCS: The Indian experience," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 129-143, June.
    2. Magnus Boström & Mikael Klintman, 2006. "State-centered versus Nonstate-driven Organic Food Standardization: A Comparison of the US and Sweden," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 23(2), pages 163-180, June.
    3. Michael Bendixen & Russell Abratt, 2007. "Corporate Identity, Ethics and Reputation in Supplier–Buyer Relationships," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 76(1), pages 69-82, November.
    4. Damian Hodgson & Svetlana Cicmil, 2007. "The Politics of Standards in Modern Management: Making 'The Project' a Reality," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 431-450, May.
    5. Larsen, Bøje & Häversjö, Tord, 2001. "Management by standards -- real benefits from fashion," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 457-480, December.
    6. Thomas Beschorner & Martin Müller, 2007. "Social Standards: Toward an Active Ethical Involvement of Businesses in Developing Countries," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 11-20, June.
    7. Stigzelius, Ingrid & Mark-Herbert, Cecilia, 2009. "Tailoring corporate responsibility to suppliers: Managing SA8000 in Indian garment manufacturing," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 46-56, March.
    8. Mikael Klintman, 2009. "Participation in Green Consumer Policies: Deliberative Democracy under Wrong Conditions?," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 43-57, March.
    9. Halme, Minna & Roome, Nigel & Dobers, Peter, 2009. "Corporate responsibility: Reflections on context and consequences," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-9, March.
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