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SMEs as “transmitters” of CSR requirements in the supply chain

Silvia Ayuso (Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)
Mercè Roca (Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)
Rosa Colomé (Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 29 July 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop understanding of the role of small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in relation to sustainable supply chain management, i.e. how corporate social responsibility (CSR) is integrated in their relationship with customers and suppliers.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing from a survey of CSR requirements among 410 Spanish SMEs, the paper examines the extent to which SMEs receive social and environmental requirements from diverse customer typologies and the extent to which they pass on such requirements to different supplier typologies.

Findings

Based on survey results, it is concluded that large businesses are the most demanding customers in terms of the CSR requirements imposed to their SME suppliers. In turn, SMEs are able to transfer the requests received from their (larger) customers to their own suppliers.

Research limitations/implications

The data are confined to companies located in a particular region (Catalonia in Spain), which questions its generalizability to other geographical contexts.

Practical implications

The research shows that small and medium companies can be effective in spreading the CSR requirements received from large companies through the supply chain.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to research on sustainable supply chain management from the SME perspective and offers a systematic analysis of the CSR activities of SMEs, both as suppliers and buyers. In addition, it proposes a rigorous way to measure the CSR‐related supply chain pressure.

Keywords

Citation

Ayuso, S., Roca, M. and Colomé, R. (2013), "SMEs as “transmitters” of CSR requirements in the supply chain", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 497-508. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-04-2012-0152

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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