Traceability for sustainability – literature review and conceptual framework

Sofia Garcia-Torres, Laura Albareda, Marta Rey-Garcia, Stefan Seuring

Research output: Indexed journal article Reviewpeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to examine how companies enact traceability in their global supply chains (SCs) to achieve sustainability goals and how this so-called traceability for sustainability (TfS) can contribute to (sustainable) supply chain management ([S]SCM). For this, the paper focuses on the paramount example of the apparel industry. Design/methodology/approach: This study presents an integrative and systematic literature review of 89 peer-reviewed journal articles on the confluence of traceability and sustainability in global apparel SCs. It comprises content analysis and abductive category-building based on previous literature. Findings: A conceptual framework emerges to describe TfS as an evolving cycle, comprising three dimensions: governance, collaboration and tracking and tracing. Resources and capabilities literature set the foundations for conceiving TfS as a distinctive meta-capability construct. Hence, besides being associated to increased performance, risk management and SC process transformation, TfS ultimately blurs boundaries and integrates non-traditional SC actors into the same ecosystem with important implications for sustainability and (S)SCM. This study refers to the industrial upgrading potential of global SCs to explain how leveraging enabling technologies for TfS may help to improve the triple-bottom-line (TBL) performance of the actors in the broad ecosystem while reducing the risks associated to those technologies. Thus, TfS can contribute to (S)SCM and to TBL sustainability within and beyond SC boundaries. Originality/value: This study conceptually frames (S)SCM exploring TfS as a meta-capability and contributes to the underexplored question of how to achieve sustainability in global SCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-106
Number of pages22
JournalSupply Chain Management: An International Journal
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Apparel industry
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • SCM framework
  • Sustainability
  • Systematic literature review
  • Tracking

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