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Supply chain transparency as a consumer or corporate tool: The case of Nudie Jeans Co

Journal article
Authors Niklas Egels-Zandén
Niklas Hansson
Published in Journal of Consumer Policy
Volume 39
Issue 4
Pages 377–395
ISSN 0168-7034
Publication year 2016
Published at Centre for Retailing
Centre for Business in Society
Department of Business Administration, Management & Organisation
Centre for Consumer Science
Pages 377–395
Language en
Keywords Consumer willingness to buy; Garment; Political consumerism; Supply chain; Sustainability; Textiles; Traceability; Transparency
Subject categories Business Administration


Outsourcing has led both to the embedding of questionable sustainability practices in opaque supply chains and to anti-sweatshop challenges demanding more transparent supply chains. Previous research has argued that supply chain transparency can be both a consumer tool empowering consumers to pressure disclosing firms to improve sustainability conditions, and a corporate tool for increasing revenues. Based on a study of the transparency project of Swedish company Nudie Jeans, we demonstrate that consumers do not leverage transparency but that transparency improves consumer willingness to buy. In doing this, we contribute to the literature in two important ways. First, we provide one of the first, if not the first, studies of whether consumers in practice leverage increased supply chain transparency, challenging the previous research claim that supply chain transparency is a useful consumer tool. Second, we move beyond studies of purchasing intentions and willingness to buy in experimental settings and confirm that supply chain transparency is a useful corporate tool in practice. We conclude by discussing the policy implications of companies being able to use transparency to increase sales without subjecting themselves to increased consumer pressure.

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