211.2 Issues of traceability and corporate responsibility

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 9:20 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Natasja BORJESON , School of natural sciences, technology and environmental studies, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden
The objective of this paper is to discuss how and if corporations' strategies for traceability along their commodity chains may further corporate responsibility and, in the end, a more environmentally friendly production.  The paper focuses on the case of chemicals in textiles; the textile production and commodity trading is one of the most global industries in the world with production and distribution lines spread over numerous regions with a multitude of production steps, suppliers and sub-suppliers. Moreover it has a great environmental impact coming from the use of toxic chemicals in both fiber production as well as in many manufacturing stages. During the last decade, there has been an increased pressure on companies to take accountability for the entire commodity chain down to the last sub-supplier. Accordingly, the textile companies today find themselves facing the difficult task of trying to manage very complex product chains. The concept of traceability is being seen by the industry to be a key issue when trying to take on a more responsible approach and in improving their environmental practices. The paper looks into the concept of traceability and discusses such strategies using a literature review and semi-structured interviews. The analysis also includes lessons learned from other sectors. A particular topic that is addressed is the role of stakeholders, such as the media, NGOs and political consumers, in formulating and working for the new business strategies.