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Peer-Review Record

Characterization of Sustainability Leaders and Laggards in the Global Food Industry

Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5072; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185072
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5072; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185072
Received: 15 July 2019 / Revised: 16 August 2019 / Accepted: 11 September 2019 / Published: 17 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The paper deals with a very interesting topic. The literature overview is sufficient. The objectives and methods of the paper are represented clear, but Figure 1 is not readable (some parts of it). It should be corrected. The results are presented clear and systematic and the most important findings are included in the concluding remarks. I recommend the paper for publication after visual minor revision of figure 1.


Author Response

Thank you for seeing promise in the paper and for pointing out the formatting issues with Figure 1. We re-formatted this Figure and the issues should be resolved now.

Reviewer 2 Report

See attached.

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

1. I am concerned regarding the low number of entities interviewed (16) given the split between the three major types of organizations. The number of each type needs to be identified both in the original sample (35) and the resulting “n” (16). Also, how were the 35 identified specifically, and what efforts were made to obtain greater participation? (Anything along the lines of the Dillman approach for example?) What possible biases are present in picking the 35 and the resulting 16?


Thank you for these recommendations. We added information about the three different types of organizations in our final sample. In addition, the revised version includes a description of the ways in which we sought greater participation. Similar to Dillman approach used in quantitative surveys, we made repeated contacts with potential respondents.
Your point about a potential bias presented by the number of interviews is valid. We have included it as a key limitation of the study while also pointing out that this number is not too low for a qualitative study.


2. Page 3, 85-88 (and sentence starting on preceding page); what did 30 and 35 find specifically and how does it fit into this effort?
Thank you for this suggestion. We have included a brief explanation of findings of each of these studies.
3. Page 3, 104. Eliminate the etc.
Thank you for comment. We have eliminated the “etc.” as suggested.
4. Page 4, 136. Need at least one reference for smei-structured interviews
Thank you for this recommendation. A reference has been included to support our approach to selecting semi-structured interview participants.
5. 140. What groups and when (in terms of meetings). Ned specifics.
This is an important point that needed clarification and we thank you for pointing this out. We added two sentences clarifying how sustainability experts were identified, including a reference to a previous study that used a similar approach.
6. 144-148. Need a breakdown of the 16 across major groups for both the 35 and the resulting 16.
Thank you for pointing this out. We have included the numbers of participants from each of the three categories of experts for our final sample.
7. 150. references (several) needed for “attributes identified in the literature”
We have added appropriate references.
8. 152. “Several times”; much too vague.
“Several times” is indeed too vague. We re-wrote this sentence to clarify how the nine criteria were identified.
9. Page 5. 174 analyze these data “to analyze our interview results”.
Thank you for your recommendation. Based on your suggestion, we re-wrote this sentence to clarify for what purpose we used thematic analysis. This sentence now reads:
“We used thematic analysis to analyze our interview transcripts.”
10. 181. delete “above”
Thank you for your suggestion. This sentence now reads:
“Data analysis was conducted in two steps. In the first step, we identified CS performance criteria for firms operating in the food industry by using the nine pre-established attributes identified in our interview protocol as well as attributes identified by respondents.”
11. Page 9 (4. Section). 218-9. Cries out for examples of these types.
Thank you for your suggestion. This sentence is re-written so it is clear that the entities that typically comprise MSGs include businesses, civil society representatives and government agencies.
12. The conclusions sector is very weak and needs much further thought and effort. What future research is needed for example?
Thank you for pointing this out. We included two paragraphs in the conclusion of the paper addressing research limitations, future research and summary of the findings of our study.

Round 2

Reviewer 2 Report

My concerns have been adequately addressed by the authors.

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