HCBE Faculty Articles

Supply Chain Food Waste Reduction and the Triple Bottom Line


Kimberly Deranek0000-0001-8203-8827

Document Type


Publication Title

Social Business



Publication Date

Summer 2018


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the actions taken by firms to reduce waste across the food supply chain. More specifically, this paper categorises and contextualises the usage of food waste reduction activities (FWRAs) by analysing the FWRAs that have been communicated to stakeholders via press releases. Design/methodology/approach The study was based on an inductive content analysis of press releases. Examples of FWRAs were identified via PR Newswire and the data was analysed to develop categories of objectives, organisation types, supply chain stages, and international context. Findings Firms typically engage in FWRAs that provide a win-win outcome. FWRAs are more commonly initiated by firms in industrialised nations and at the consumer end of the supply chain, and the benefits of these activities generally apply to local stakeholders, rather than impacting the broader supply chain. Research limitations/implications The interpretivist nature of the research method inherently includes researcher bias, however, an established research method was followed to minimise the impact of bias. Future research can test the research propositions through detailed empirical examination. Practical implications The paper has provided insights into the types of FWRAs in which firms typically engage and communicate to the public. Although there has been progress towards more responsible management of the food supply chain, a focus on win-win scenarios may limit the application of truly sustainable practices. Contribution Food waste is an increasingly important topic in industrialised and developing countries, and this is the first study to investigate the usage of FWRAs throughout the supply chain on a large scale.







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