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Stefan Seuring

University of Kassel

Stefan Seuring is full professor of supply chain management at the University of Kassel. He holds a PhD and Habilitation in business administration from the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany. His research covers the intersection of supply chain management and sustainability. He was and is involved into inter- and transdisciplinary research on sustainable supply chains, linking e.g. into decent work or biodiversity. One related stream of research links to Base of the Pyramid contexts and analyses business setting with and for the poor. This also links into emerging economy settings, so empirical research in the last years was conducted e.g. in India and Pakistan, Kenya and Uganda, Brazil and Chile.
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publication
Resolving the base of the pyramid inclusion paradox through supplier development

Resulting from divergent business environments between actors, the integration of the base of the pyramid (BoP) into formal supply chain (SC) structures is often ham- pered by institutional voids, which can result in the emergence of paradoxical situa- tions. This paper analyzes the potential of supplier development (SD) for addressing the BoP inclusion paradox. The study develops a framework based on the assumption that SD enables the development of capabilities and supplier performance, which is especially relevant when operating in BoP contexts. Seventy-two semi-structured interviews stemming from two case studies of (a) a local dairy and (b) an international certified pineapple SCs with BoP involvement provide empirical insights into the the- oretical framework. Paradox resolution strategies (temporal separation, spatial sepa- ration, and synthesis) are related to (direct and indirect) SD practices. The proposed framework and results show that indirect SD can be used as temporal and spatial separation, but not as synthesis strategy. Contrastingly, direct SD can be used as temporal separation and synthesis. The BoP context needs direct SD to address two sustainability goals simultaneously: the social dimension of BoP inclusion and the economic dimension of formal and efficient SCs. This research extends the discussion on paradoxes in sustainability management to SCs, especially to BoP SCs. It is rele- vant to show that BoP inclusion is neither a sole win-win nor trade-off scenario. Resulting paradoxical situations can be addressed by SD, thereby moving to sustain- able supply chain management (SSCM).

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publication
Bottoms up: Delivering sustainable value in the base of the pyramid

Despite a wealth of expertise involving leading institutions over at least 15 years, a base of the pyramid (BoP) model resulting in scalability has yet to emerge. We posit that institutional gaps between BoP goals of developing human and social capital on one hand and a short-term profit focus of business on the other contribute to the lack of scalability. We address this gap by proposing a social intermediary to link the BoP with firms involved in the BoP. The social intermediary will coordinate and inter- pret the informal market requirements of the BoP to the firm in a “bottoms up” approach. We illustrate the bottoms up approach through a case involving Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit, a German government agency, with the garment manufacturing industry in Pakistan. The case study involves implementa- tion of labor standards and productivity in the Pakistan garment industry, resulting in improved productivity and labor standards enabling garment manufacturers to access global supply chains.

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publication
Management of Social Issues in Supply Chains: A Literature Review Exploring Social Issues, Actions and Performance Outcomes

The social dimension of sustainable develop- ment and its impact on supply chains have so far received less attention than the environmental dimension. The aim of the research is to explore the intersection between social issues, corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions and performance outcomes. A structured literature review of social issues in supply chains is presented, analysing the research published so far in peer-reviewed publications. Linking CSR and supply chain management allows the exploration of strategies and performance outcomes with a focus on social issues. The corresponding responsible supply chain actions adopted by firms to address these issues are grouped into communication, compliance and supplier development strategies. Social and economic as well as buyer and supplier performance are identified as the key outcomes, but the interactions among these constructs would require further research. This paper contributes to the understanding of managing social issues in supply chains by linking social issues, responsible supply chain actions and performance outcomes. The paper consolidates related research by offering an overarching conceptual framework and points to future research directions and simultaneously provides insights into the management of social issues in supply chains.

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