1 Innovation and Sustainability, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Teknologisk Institut
This paper focuses on Danish textile industry experiences with setting environmental requirements throughout the supply chain. Based on a qualitative study, three models were formulated for the development of environmental competency in the product chain. The models centre on the environmental strategy followed by the organisations as part of the requirements they place on their suppliers. The models are: 1) Wake strategy, in which organisations do not themselves place new requirements on suppliers, but follow in the ”wake” of organisations that place the same requirements, 2) Asymmetrical partnership, in which organisations want long-term relationships with their suppliers as well as control to ensure requirements are met and 3) Symmetrical partnership, in which organisations want long-term relationships with suppliers and to enter mutual partnerships. The models are discussed with regard to their potential contribution to a long-term environmental effort, including how the models contribute to the spread of environmental competency etc. to other textile companies, as well as how certain model aspects ensure/hinder stabilisation of the product chain, including the interaction between social, economic, legal, and environmental variables, among others. This last theme is central as it says much about the durability of the models and the inherent risk factors with regard to the organisations involved. The first section of this article will outline the background and status of environmental efforts within the Danish textile industry. Next, study findings are presented through a description of the three models. A discussion of the possibilities and barriers of each model encountered during long-term environmental efforts concludes the article, along with a brief look at whether these experiences can be applied to other industries.