Multi-tier sustainable supply chain management: a case study of a global food retailer

Adegboyega Oyedijo*, Simonov Kusi-Sarpong, Muhammad Shujaat Mubarik, Sharfuddin Ahmed Khan, Kome Utulu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Implementing sustainable practices in multi-tier supply chains (MTSCs) is a difficult task. This study aims to investigate why such endeavours fail and how MTSC partners can address them.

Design/methodology/approach: A single-case study of a global food retail company was used in this study. Semi-structured interviews with the case firm and its first- and second-tier suppliers were used to collect data, which were then qualitatively analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings: Major barriers impeding the implementation of sustainability in multi-tier food supply chains were revealed such as the cost of sustainability, knowledge gap, lack of infrastructure and supply chain complexity. Furthermore, the findings reveal five possible solutions such as multi-tier collaboration and partnership, diffusion of innovation along the chain, supply chain mapping, sustainability performance measurement and capacity building, all of which can aid in the improvement of sustainability practices.

Research limitations/implications: Future research should investigate how specific barriers and drivers affect specific aspects of sustainability, pointing practitioners to specific links between the variables that can aid in tailoring sustainability oriented investment.

Practical implications: This research supports managerial comprehension of MTSC sustainability, pointing out ways to improve sustainability performance despite the complex multi-tier system of food supply chains.

Originality/value: The research on MTSC sustainability is still growing, and this research contributes to the debate about how MTSCs can become more sustainable from the perspective of the triple bottom line, particularly food supply chains which face significant sustainability challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-97
Number of pages30
JournalSupply Chain Management
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024


  • Collaboration
  • Food supply chain
  • Multi-tier
  • Supply chain management
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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