Improving working conditions at farm level : the role for food retailer Ahold Delhaize
Sammanfattning: Food retailers are increasingly held responsible for the impact they have in and on societies. Unfortunately, many social and environmental challenges occur beyond their direct sphere of influence, at distanced sites in multiple-layered production chains. So far, the literature in the field of sustainable production has mainly considered the improvement of environmental conditions and the social conditions are given less attention. Therefore, this study focuses on the social dimension of sustainable development. This project aims to explain what retailers can do to improve working conditions at upstream agricultural production levels. Through the lens of the Social Practice Theory, this case study shows how the context of a retailer’s sourcing practices, influences the degree of sustainable development in the chain, and thus the working conditions of farmworkers. Previous research has pointed to different factors that enable positive impact, such as strategic relationships, long-term perspectives in the achievement of both financial and social value-adding, insight into chain-specific conditions and tools that stimulate collaboration. The results in this study highlight how conventional commercial beliefs and mainstream sourcing strategies seem to constrain these factors. For instance, buyers of commodity products usually aim for the highest-short term profit by putting price pressure on suppliers. Hence, the findings indicate how retailers need to optimize their procurement context to support buying associates in achieving sustainable development.
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