• Adoption of eco-advantage by SMEs: emerging opportunities and constraints

      Oxborrow, Lynn; Brindley, Clare; Nottingham Trent University (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2013)
      Purpose: Esty and Winston (2006) assert that businesses need to adopt 'eco-advantage'. This paper aims to explore the viability of SMEs achieving 'eco-advantage' by considering their understanding of sustainability issues, how they adopt and innovate in terms of sustainability and the benefits and obstacles they face. Methodology: The research approach is exploratory, comprised of 15 SME embedded cases based in the UK. The cases are participants in short interventions in sustainable product and process design as a part of a university knowledge transfer project, representing the overall case. Cases are based on interviews with company participants and collaborating academics, supplemented by documentary and observational evidence. Findings: The results build on the work on 'eco-advantage' (Esty and Winston, 2006), highlighting marketing, rather than compliance issues as a catalyst for change. The newly aware SME enters a development process which involves cumulative capabilities, gaining a nascent inner confidence, which includes espousing wider sustainable values and attempts at influencing internal and upstream practices in four dominant ways: use of alternative materials, enhancing recyclability (Sharma et al, 2010), local sourcing, and product to service shift (Maxwell and van der Vorst 2003), though few fully embrace strategic ecological and economic advantage. Obstacles include ephemerality of benefits (Shearlock et al, 2000) and practicalities of implementing internal and supply chain innovations.
    • Aligning the sustainable supply chain to green marketing needs: a case study

      Brindley, Clare; Oxborrow, Lynn; Nottingham Trent University (Elsevier, 2013-09-11)
      The research explores the challenges facing organisations in aligning sustainable procurement requirements and marketing needs and the attendant shifts in supply chain management practices. Whilst external influences are readily understood (e.g. regulation and customer demand), less is understood about the implications for suppliers trying to meet sustainable procurement requirements and the organisational challenges of aligning marketing with sustainable supply chain management. An exploratory case study of a UK University catering department has been undertaken, to explore the strategies, processes and relationships associated with synthesising sustainable supply chain and green marketing needs. The empirical findings illustrate the divergence between organisational perspectives on sustainability and procuring sustainable products with marketing demands. Thus, the findings extend the theoretical discussion on sustainable supply chains by providing empirical data based on real-life implementation and from this an emergent aligned supply chain model is proposed, which confirms two drivers for alignment, lean and resource efficient and local and seasonal contingent on market demand. The findings emphasise the benefits of a reverse information flow, the importance of intermediaries, and relationships in its fulfilment, while indicating the resurgence of a supply push of sustainable products into core markets. Future research directions are also posited.
    • Disintermediation in the apparel supply chain

      Oxborrow, Lynn; Brindley, Clare; Nottingham Trent University (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014-07-08)
      Purpose The apparel industry has acted as a microcosm of global industrial change, exemplified by changes in structure, relationships and technologies. The purpose of this paper is to identify the risk drivers, the changing supply strategies and the relationships suppliers are developing or exiting from, notably because of the increasing power of retailers in the fast fashion sector. Design/methodology/approach The research adopts a qualitative, case study methodology of the Leicester (UK) based suppliers who operate in the fast fashion market. Findings Rich narrative data shows that the apparel supply chain has changed. The small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) have had more success in managing the upstream rather than the downstream, supported by their move towards a more design driven system. This willingness has been motivated by their wish to "own" the relationship with the buyer but this has not always resulted in greater power or returns and relationships have continued to be fractious. Research limitations/implications There is a lack of research on supply chains, especially, apparel supply chains that focus on reality rather than best practice. This paper addresses the power relationships that are exerted in the supply chain and the cultural aspects that influence them, which have hitherto lacked academic focus. Originality/value Adds empirical data to the theoretical work in the area, specifically, the shape of SME supply chains and the nature of risk in supplying fast fashion. It identifies the unequal power base of the supply chain and SMEs strategies for coping, or not, to some extent dependent on their culture.
    • Eco-innovation in SMEs - drivers of a holistic process of change

      Oxborrow, Lynn; Brindley, Clare; Nottingham Trent University (ISDR Society, 2011-06-25)
      The paper aims to explore SMEs understanding of sustainability issues, how they adopt and innovate in terms of sustainability and the benefits and obstacles they face in developing, adopting and commercialising new products and processes. The concept of eco-innovation or developing 'new products and processes which provide customer and business value but significantly decrease environmental impacts' (James 1997) is therefore applied to the specialised context of UK SMEs, a context which impacts cumulatively on overall environmental sustainability (Tilley 1999). In particular the concept of ecoinnovation is researched in the context of SME capabilities and competences, and how these relate to the change process that emerges as a reaction to the drivers towards eco-innovation.
    • Enabling the SME is sustainable procurement: a case study

      Oxborrow, Lynn; Brindley, Clare; Nottingham Trent University (Institute for Small Business and Entrepeurship, 2011)
    • How small suppliers deal with the buyer power in asymmetric relationships within the sustainable fashion supply chain.

      Talay, Cagri; Oxborrow, Lynn; Brindley, Clare; University of Derby; Nottingham Trent University (Elsevier, 2018-09-05)
      This research investigates the application of power by retail buyers and how fashion suppliers deal with the application of power within sustainable supply chains by focusing on the experience of six small fashion suppliers. Using an exploratory case methodology, the empirical findings demonstrate that power is applied by enforcing collaborations and extension of responsibilities of fashion suppliers. Small fashion suppliers deal with the application of power by providing process efficiency that supports the performance of economic, environmental and social sustainable goals of retail buyers within sustainable supply chains. This research contributes by linking the concept of power and sustainability within fashion supply chains. The paper concludes by evaluating the application of power by retail buyers and fashion suppliers' responses.
    • Regional resilience in recessionary times: a case study of the East Midlands

      Oxborrow, Lynn; Brindley, Clare; Nottingham Trent University (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012)
      Purpose: Since the 1990's the fashion industry has reflected the issues generally arising in the manufacturing sector, namely rapid and deep structural changes, the development of new supply chain relationships, ICT impacts and increasing globalisation with the attendant issues of ethical sourcing, off-shoring, new emerging markets and recessionary ripples. This paper focuses on one particular aspect of the fashion industry, namely the apparel sector and in particular 'fast fashion' to explore the issues arising for the SMEs in the supply chain. Approach: The research adopts a qualitative methodology and is longitudinal in nature, spanning 5 years from August 2006. The first stage of the research is reported here, where a series of focussed interview scenarios were conducted over an eighteenth month period. The sample of 12 SMEs was a convenience one, drawn from the 30 participants who took part in a business to business event in Leicester, a geographical location which acts as a microcosm of the apparel industry. Interviews were used to elicit narrative data about was what was actually happening in these apparel supply chains. Findings: The apparel supply chain has changed significantly due to recessionary ripples and structural changes. The SMEs have had more success in managing the upstream rather than the downstream relationships and relationships between buyer and suppliers continue to be fractious. Innovation has occurred but is hampered by the relationships that persist. Culture has proved to be a key dimension.
    • The use of power in self and collective interests of retailers and small apparel suppliers’ relationships

      Talay, Cagri; Oxborrow, Lynn; Brindley, Clare; Nottingham Trent University; University of Derby (2017-07-07)