Towards responsible procurement in relation to chemical risks in textiles?

Findings from an interview study

Omslag för Towards responsible procurement in relation to chemical risks in textiles?: Findings from an interview study

Boström, Magnus; Börjeson, Natasja; Gilek, Michael; Jönsson, Anna Maria; Karlsson, Mikael

In the present study, we ask whether and how different organizations work with sustainable procurement and how this work relates to the complexity of the product chain. We have chosen to focus on chemical risks in relation to textiles – an issue that increasingly is becoming part of the public discourse and a target for journalists. In the case of textiles, the product chain from raw material to consumption often involves a great number of production steps, sub-contractors and users, often on a global scale. Sustainable management of the supply chain would improve health, quality of life, and labour conditions, for instance in the areas and factories in developing countries where production and processing often take place. However, such management faces great difficulties and challenges in terms of capabilities, knowledge, communication, and policy instruments. These difficulties are related to high uncertainties and other problems that in turn are related to the high complexity of global product chains. The objective of the present report is to gain insights into the opportunities and challenges that private and public organizations face regarding the development of responsible procurement in relation to a complex and uncertain issue. The report focuses on chemicals in textiles and uses a qualitative methodology with semi-structured interviews. Key elements of a pro-active, responsible procurement strategy are defined in the report and include criteria such as using a preventive, systematic, responsive, integrative, and reflective approach. The analysis includes the following topics: (i) priorities and knowledge, (ii) communicative strategies, (iii) policy instruments, (iv) monitoring and trust in relation to suppliers. The results show a fairly modest level of organizational responsibility, although it is possible to observe an initial positive development among the cases investigated. The report ends by suggesting a number of topics that require further investigation.

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2011. 65 sidor.

Serie: Working Paper, 1404-1480 ; 2011:2