Walter Vermeulen

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Walter Vermeulen is an associate professor of sustainable production and consumption at Utrecht University, Netherlands. He is the programme leader of the International Masters Degree on Sustainable Development, which is linked to the International Joint Degree Programme on Sustainable Development ?? He is president of the International Sustainable Development Research Society

He is also an ?extraordinary associate professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and ?visiting professor at TERI University, New Delhi, India. His research currently focuses on governance systems for sustainability in global supply chains and corporate sustainability strategies.
Transitions in global supply chainsĀ  Cases on value-driven strategies
Business strategy is linked to organisational values and culture, which is determined to some extent by national culture. This can provide a challenge in a global supply chain where culture and values at one end of the chain do not correspond with culture at the other end. This paper contends that shared values contribute to effective sustainability transitions in supply chains. Two case studies from the South AfricanBritish fresh fruit export chain present two contrasting business strategies for achieving socially sustainable practices: (i) a unilateral, prescriptive approach (pushing), mirroring a paternalistic value system, in which a company prescribes norms of socially responsible behaviour at the ground level (the Tesco case) and; (ii) a bilateral, collaborative approach (sharing) in which business and non-governmental organisations work together to improve working conditions (the Waitrose case). Outcomes of these approaches are observed over a three-year period. It is concluded that within this specific supply chain a shared value approach is a more successful initiative than paternalistic pushing initiatives.