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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 424; doi:10.3390/su10020424

Sustainability Tensions in Supply Chains: A Case Study of Paradoxes and Their Management

Supply Chain Management, University of Kassel, Kleine Rosenstraße 1-3, 34109 Kassel, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Supply Chains)
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The comprehensive coverage of sustainability issues in a supply chain incurs goal conflicts—i.e., sustainability tensions—and is often limited by market characteristics, such as the availability of sustainable materials and services. While the mainstream business is prioritizing economic goals, a number of entrepreneurs are trying to move forward to more sustainable business practices for their own company and their supply chain. Fairphone represents such a case in the electronics industry, which is openly communicating its sustainability efforts and shortcomings. This communication is content-analyzed in this study by applying the theoretical lenses of paradox sustainability tensions and sustainable supply chain management. Findings of this analysis reveal the limitation of sustainability efforts by supply side characteristics, while Fairphone is innovatively using the demand side of its supply chain to drive sustainability. The resulting tensions among both sides are addressed via pro-active and direct supplier and stakeholder engagement by Fairphone at their suppliers’ mines and factories. The systematic identification of tensions and practices by which they are addressed is adding to our understanding of sustainability practices and goal conflicts in supply chains. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability tensions; paradox theory; sustainable supply chain management; Fairphone; mineral resources sustainability tensions; paradox theory; sustainable supply chain management; Fairphone; mineral resources

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Brix-Asala, C.; Geisbüsch, A.-K.; Sauer, P.C.; Schöpflin, P.; Zehendner, A. Sustainability Tensions in Supply Chains: A Case Study of Paradoxes and Their Management. Sustainability 2018, 10, 424.

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