From an interdisciplinary theoretical perspective, this study uncovers how and to what extent building supply chain relations impacts supply chain transparency in an industrial context characterized by mistrust, complexity and privacy. By conducting a case study involving a multinational fashion group and an influential NGO, this study investigates how a fashion group forms supply chain relations that eventually influence their transparency performance. The fashion group under investigation initially started disclosing information about their supply chain actions in order to ensure legitimacy and protect the brand image. Nevertheless, the group started sharing more information about their supply chains, changing the perspective from a legitimacy driven reactive approach toward an ethics driven proactive approach. Particularly, supplier engagement, commitment and leadership appear to be antecedents to supply chain transparency. The study also reveals the novel influence of NGOs on supply chain transparency. Fashion Revolution has been substantial to drive fashion companies to obtain and disclose information about their supply chains. Supply chain visibility and stronger partnerships are required to overcome problems relating to supply chain complexity on the way toward transparency. Results suggest that supply chain engagement is fundamental for supply chain transparency, and that NGOs play a pivotal role to enhance transparency through knowledge sharing and awareness increasing. The results provide numerous implications that can help industrial practice and research improve the status quo.
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