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Much of the existing literature on the social aspects of sustainability in the supply chain has focused on dyadic buyer-supplier relationships. However, supply chains are much more extensive, featuring multi-tiered systems consisting of many interconnected sequential and parallel dyadic relationships; therefore, a more expansive and holistic approach to exploring the management and integration of social sustainability standards across the extended supply chain is desirable. This research attempts to help fill this void and considers the extent to which a series of sequential upstream and downstream supply chain partners, rather than only a focal organization’s immediate suppliers and buyers, influence the formulation process of the social aspects of a sustainability strategy and the deployment of associated practices across the extended supply chain. Findings in the literature indicate that, inter alia, sustainability efforts in the supply chain are likely to be guided by stakeholders’ sustainability desires/requirements, the geographical location of buyers and suppliers and the associated sustainability enforcement regulations and cultural norms, and the volume of trade between the buyer and supplier. This paper uses the results gleaned from a review of the literature to propose a conceptual framework for selection of sustainability strategy across the multi-tiered supply chain. Finally, we introduce a conceptual approach to the process of implementing and deploying the social aspects of sustainability strategies and practices across the supply chain using an integrated social-sustainability information management system (ISIMS).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.