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Latin America Business Review
Deadline: 15 June 2020
Building the Latin America Landscape of Supply Chain Sustainability Research
There are important changes happening at the sustainability debate and practice in the last years. For instance, Elkington himself has recently ‘recalled’ the triple bottom line (TBL) concept. On his own words, “success or failure on sustainability goals cannot be measured only in terms of profit and loss (…). Together with its subsequent variants, the TBL concept has been captured and diluted by accountants and reporting consultants (…). Clearly, the TBL has failed to bury the single bottom line paradigm” (Elkington, 2018, pp. 1-2). On another instance, in 2015, acknowledging old problems remain unsolved, the United Nations has proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) together with targets for 2030 to drive action towards sustainability. Although sustainability and the SDGs aim a global transformation, specific actions and projects taken by focal firms are often local and therefore context bounded. The success of those local actions and projects tend to depend on the country’s specificities as well as how far the country is from achieving these goals (Salvia et al., 2019).  United Nations, 2016. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016 http://www.un.org.lb/Library/Assets/The-Sustainable-Development-Goals-Report-2016-Global.pdf (Accessed 20 June 2019).
Following this perspective, side-by-side with the pressures for sustainability, there is an increasing demand for transparency. Firms (and their supply chains) are among those at the spotlight. Such pressures flow from multiple stakeholders, including regulators, consumers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and society in general, and they can often be conflicting (Montabon et al., 2016). As a result, managing a supply chain from a network perspective has become a daunting task once the firm decides to track and report on not only direct suppliers, but also its sub-suppliers, often invisible to the buying firm (Yan et al., 2015). Moreover, the costs of monitoring globally dispersed supply networks are prohibitive and resorting to third-party auditing has often been proved ineffective (Handley & Benton Jr, 2013). At the same time, the digital age geometrically increases the variety of channels that diverse stakeholders can use to place demands upon firms, particularly regarding disclosure and transparency.
While the discussion of how to address sustainability and how much to advance towards transparency remains unsettled, a new trend comes to shake the landscape: the rise of social enterprises as alternatives to both profit-oriented firms and NGOs as a means to advance economic activity while setting social impact as a core value. These new forms of organizing producing products and services are characterized as hybrid organizations due to their struggle to balance economic and social impact (Battilana & Lee, 2014). After getting traction across the broader general management literature, social enterprising has recently caught attention within supply chain management (SCM), as those firms need not only to adapt their internal processes, but most importantly how they engage with their extended supply network (Pullman et al., 2018). Thus, this call looks at research exploring the three interconnected trends of sustainability, transparency and social enterprising, particularly how they are addressed by SCM scholarship in Latin America.
In the Latin America context, political turmoil and economic instability adds up as additional excuses for firms to delay concrete change regarding social and environmental demands (Fritz & Silva, 2018). In addition, the paucity of mandatory legislation and the lack of enforcement when legislation is in place often limits advancements in social and environmental impact and transparency. In the absence of mandatory pressures, exemplary cases may often steam from voluntary efforts and collaboration with certifications, industry associations, NGOs and other third-party stakeholders (Silva et al., 2018).
- What are the role of institutions both in terms of setting mandatory legislation or voluntary certification (Fung et al., 2007)? What are the context-specific elements in Latin America?
- How can the coordination of multiple actors and coopetition in particular foster sustainability (Pathak et al., 2014; Touboulic et al., 2018), transparency (Marshall et al., 2016) and social impact in supply chains (Pullman et al., 2018) in the Latin American context?
- How do specific Latin American cultural aspects affect the development of sustainable and transparent supply chains?
- How can firms secure data protection and intellectual property in the age of transparency? What are the Latin American exemplars of technology-enabled sustainability, transparency and social impact?
- How can innovative methodological approaches help mapping the Latin American landscape, in particular studies going beyond firm-level and dyad-level unit of analysis (Marques, 2019) and studies that explore non-positivists approach to empirical research (Matthews et al., 2016)?
Paper Development Workshop (PDW) (optional):
Application for the PDW should include submission of an academic article (up to 8,000 words, following LABR’s requirements). Selected papers will be given a 30-min slot for presentation including discussion. See details of the PDW here. Please direct any inquiries about the PDW to: Dr. Leonardo Marques
LABR Special Issue:
Papers to the Special Issue should follow LABR’s requirements and be submitted via manuscript central.
Dr. Leonardo Marques: Leonardo holds a PhD in Business & Management from University of Manchester (2016). Leonardo has over 18 years of professional experience that includes managerial positions, consultancy and executive training. Since 2015, he is an Assistant Professor at Coppead Graduate School of Business teaching topics such as Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, and Project Management.
Dr. Minelle Silva: Minelle holds a PhD in Management with emphasis in Sustainability Management in 2015 at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). He is an Associate Professor at La Rochelle Business School, France. His teaching activities concern international supply chain management, supply chain and sustainable development, purchasing management and responsible purchasing.
- Dr. Lee Matthews: Lee Matthews holds a PhD in Business & Management from University of Manchester (2016). He is currently an Assistant Professor in Business & Society at the University of Nottingham and a member of the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility. His research is primarily focussed on sustainable supply chain management. In his work he adopts a strong sustainability perspective and is currently exploring postcolonial lenses to examine the power dynamics underpinning global supply chains. Dr Matthews has published in journal such as Journal of Supply Chain Management, Organization, and Supply Chain Management: An International Journal. He is also a reviewer for high quality journals such as the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Operations Management, and the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Looking to Publish your Research?
Battilana, J., & Lee, M. (2014). Advancing research on hybrid organizing: Insights from the study of social enterprises. The Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), 397-441.
Elkington, J. (2018). 25 years ago I coined the phrase “Triple Bottom Line.” Here’s why it’s time to rethink it. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from
Fritz, M. M. C., & Silva, M. E. (2018). Exploring supply chain sustainability research in Latin America. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 48(8), 818-841.
Fung, A., Graham, M., & Weil, D. (2007). Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Handley, S., & Benton Jr, W. C. (2013). The influence of task- and location-specific complexity on the control and coordination costs in global outsourcing relationships. Journal of Operations Management, 31, 109-128.
Marques, L. (2019). Sustainable supply network management: A systematic literature review from a knowledge perspective. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Online.
Marshall, D., McCarthy, L., McGrath, P., & Harrigan, F. (2016). What is your strategy for supply chain disclosure. Sloan Management Review, 57(2), 36-45.
Matthews, L., Power, D., Touboulic, A., & Marques, L. (2016). Building Bridges: toward alternative theory of sustainable supply chain management. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 52(1), 82-94.
Montabon, F., Pagell, M., & Wu, Z. (2016). Making sustainability sustainable. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 52(2), 11-27.
Pathak, S. D., Wu, Z., & Johnston, D. (2014). Toward a structural view of co-opetition in supply networks. Journal of Operations Management, 32(5), 254-267.
Pullman, M. E., Longoni, A., & Luzzini, D. (2018). The role of institutional complexity and hybridity in social impact supply chain management. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 54(2), 3-20.
Salvia, A. L., Leal Filho, W., Brandli, L. L., & Griebeler, J. S. (2019). Assessing research trends related to Sustainable Development Goals: local and global issues. Journal of Cleaner Production, 208, 841-849.
Silva, M. E., Pereira, S. C. F., & Gold, S. (2018). The response of the Brazilian cashew nut supply chain to natural disasters: A practice-based view. Journal of Cleaner Production, 204, 660-671.
Touboulic, A., Matthews, L., & Marques, L. (2018). On the road to carbon reduction in a food supply network: A complex adaptive systems perspective. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 23(4), 313-335.
Whiteman, G., Walker, B., & Perego, P. (2013). Planetary Boundaries: Ecological Foundations for Corporate Sustainability. Journal of Management Studies, 50(2), 307-336.
Yan, T., Choi, T. Y., Kim, Y., & Yang, Y. (2015). A theory of the nexus supplier: Critical supplier from a network perspective. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 51(1), 52-66.