Collaboration among supply chain channel partners for achieving sustainability development goals in low and middle income countries

Call for papers for: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

Purpose, need, and scope of the Special Issue 
The issues pertaining to partnerships for sustainable development are motivated by Sustainable development goal (SDGs) of the United Nations Environment. The SDG 17 specifically focuses on capacity-building in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals. SDG 17 reflects a holistic approach to the means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda, including 19 targets that span finance, technology, capacity-building, trade, and systemic issues. In this context, the various government and non-government organizations across the globe, specifically in LMIC, require new capacities to integrate all sustainable development dimensions in their work, partner across industries, to monitor, evaluate and report on their efforts in line with SDG targets and indicators. Capacity development, an important feature (17.9 targets) of the SDG 17 on partnerships between organizations enhancing efforts by providing international support for effective and targeted capacity-building in LMICs. The capacity building focuses on capabilities or capacities (skills, training, knowledge) particularly in LMIC to foster sustainable development. Such capacities include skills-training efforts, communication technologies, and knowledge enhancement programs. 

The major challenge in achieving capacity building is the lack of support from various stakeholders. Moreover, most of the global brands have adopted the “race to bottom” phenomenon in which their tire-2 or tire-3 suppliers are situated in LMIC countries (Ahrens et al. 2019). These LMIC countries often relax regulation and compromise the public good to attract investment. Although the business houses invest in such countries, however, the social working conditions are poor, the labour is mostly unskilled, and skill development is a major issue in such areas (Varga and Rosca 2019). Thus, the involvement of various governments and non-government bodies is necessary to facilitate capacity building and enhancing social sustainability (Koster et al, 2019). The real question, thus, is how these LMIC can keep transitioning up and move forward towards holistic sustainable development while simultaneously building their capacity and partnering across global industries.

Industry practitioners and policy makers will need to come together to address this holistic development goal of the 2030 agenda of sustainable development with a wide range of opportunities while addressing current and emerging risks specifically in case of LMIC. They need to balance the economic efficiencies while including sustainability aspects in parallel. Moreover, the industries in LMIC should be given opportunities for stronger economic inclusiveness to achieve overall sustainability agenda. Enhancing the Global Partnership for achieving sustainable development is an essential component of sustainable partnerships (Gabay and Ilcan 2017). The SDG 17 focuses on redesigning these global partnerships with a focus on unbiased leadership, sharing of multi-stakeholder knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial resources, to support the achievement of the SDG, particularly in LMIC. Sustainable collaboration among supply chain partners and wider stakeholders (NGOs, accreditation bodies, local governments, communities, UN, etc.) can also be viewed as a means to achieve a higher degree of knowledge sharing and capital building for an overall competitive advantage throughout the product life cycle (Cao and Zhang 2011; Touboulic and Walker 2015). To achieve the UNs’ 2030 SDGs, specifically goal 17, it is necessary that collective action must be taken by government bodies, organizations, and civil society. Collaborative partnership is one of the key factors for unlocking sustainability as it is not generally feasible for a single organization or sector to have the knowledge or resources to “go it alone” (Govindan et al., 2019). Accelerated development towards SDGs can only be possible if the LMIC works in partnerships to sustain in the long run while simultaneously focusing on addressing challenges related to skill development, financial equalities, and inclusion of every segment of the society.

Sustainable management is a daunting challenge with these LMICs as they have bigger issues at hand, which include managing their resources, reducing the environmental impact, and managing their financial growth. In this scenario, partnerships both internal and global are the underlying factor to ensure that their overall development. The promotion of public-private partnerships, both nationally and at an international level, essentially focuses on the responsibility of the stakeholders towards meeting sustainable development goals. The businesses can be to partner up with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local communities, investors and other companies to establish a more socio-ecologically responsible supply chain (Sancha et al. 2016). In this collaborative system, the supply chains in various sectors and parties work in coordination to reduce both negative environmental and societal impacts and to reduce costs (Subramaniam et al., 2019; Meinlschmidt et al., 2016). Hence, the focus of the industry must shift towards understanding multi-sector collaborative alliances that are gaining momentum because of their potential to combine resources, skills, and knowledge from a wide range of stakeholders to address the challenges of creating a sustainable planet (Winter and Knemeyer 2013).  The partnership is also facing several challenges in the present scenario, with the lack of mutual trust, intense competition, information hoarding, and lack of commitment towards each other. The organizations must understand this organizational, interpersonal, and cultural impediment to work as one for sustaining in the long run. This renewed focus has given many opportunities for the industry and academia to investigate the concept of multi-dimensional sustainable collaborations (Shumon et al., 2019). However, the analysis of sustainable collaborations is not much explored from the industrial perspective primarily including transportation and customer service in literature. The literature on collaborative alliance has majorly focused on enhancing environmental sustainability by concentrating on relations between firms and NGOs and between firms and the government in so-called public-private partnerships (Niesten et al. 2017). 
The collaborative alliance between supply chain members also directs towards a circular economy making organizations more sustainable, helping them in attaining mutual benefits based on the proper use of waste products, and surplus material and products (Batista et al. 2018; Herczeg et al. 2018). Any collaborative partnership between supply chain entities must make sense for all parties, whether their basic interests are environmental, commercial, or societal. The main purpose of this Call for Papers (CFPs) is to encourage original papers from industry practitioners and academicians to investigate collaborative alliance considering the SDGs of the UN. Also, this CFP is focused towards developing and analyzing empirical and structural models for making strategic sustainable collaborative decisions; how the sustainability collaboration can be evaluated and managed; how to align the stakeholder sustainability requirements into the collaboration process and to further understand practical and academic perspectives on the development of such alliances and their impact on sustainability. 
Manuscripts in this special issue would focus on both theoretical and empirical studies. The papers would include integrative literature reviews, conceptual theory development, qualitative research such as case study or grounded theory research, participatory or design-science oriented methods, and quantitative empirical methods. This list of suggested methodologies is indicative, without being definitive of the types of papers sought. However, consistent with IJPDLM guidelines, quantitatively oriented mathematical modelling and simulation studies are unlikely to meet the requirements of this Special Issue. Regardless of the method employed, preference will be given to theoretically grounded research papers that can effectively and appropriately address the theme of this special issue. Submitted papers must comply with the author's guideline of the journal. 

Topics of research 
The topics for this special issue include, but are not limited to:
•    Analyze the drivers/barriers/impediments of various collaborative partnership to achieve SDG 17 and other related SDGs
•    Understand challenges facing logistics and supply chain collaboration for achieving SDG 17 and other related SDGs
•    Understand barriers and challenges in balancing social, economic, and environmental sustainability in LMIC and the roles of logistics and supply chain professionals and academics
•    Assessment, selection, and development of collaborative partners for meeting SDGs in emerging economies
•    Capacity building challenges and opportunities in LMIC
•    Collaborative alliance for the upliftment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in LMIC 
•    Application of information sharing in developing collaborative sustainable reverse and forward logistics in LMIC
•    Decision support systems and empirical models in understanding the impact of the collaborative partnership on achieving SDGs in supply chains
•    Designing a supply chain collaborative and/or knowledge sharing networks for sustainable collaboration among different parties from low and high-income countries 
•    Enhancing logistics and sustainability performance through coordination and collaboration in multi-tier supply chains
•    Impact of political tensions and trade barriers on global supply chain strategies for meeting SDGs
•    The use of information and collaboration technology (Industry 4.0, Blockchain, Data analytics, digitalization, social media, mobile applications, microfinance, etc.) and innovation solutions to achieve sustainable collaborations at the “bottom of pyramid” supply chain management  
•    Understand the perceptions and involvement of diverse stakeholders in achieving SDGs
•    Understand management issues along the entire life cycle of collaborative alliance for achieving sustainable supply chain and SDGs
•    Private and public interaction for sustainable partnerships 
•    Quantifying the economic, environment and social impacts of sustainable collaborative supply chain initiatives in LMIC 

The recommended methodologies include, but not limited to:
•    Literature review, conceptual/theoretical development 
•    Case Study, interview, and ethnography
•    Empirical Survey
•    Action Research, participatory approach, design science 
•    Secondary and Archival Data Analysis

Important Dates:
•    Deadline for manuscript submission: May 31, 2021
•    Initial review reports: August 31, 2021
•    Revised paper submission: October 31, 2021
•    Final manuscript submissions to the publisher: March 31, 2022
•    Publication date: 2022

Submissions are to be made through the IJPDLM Scholar One manuscript portal and potential authors are encouraged to consult the author guidelines, found here

•    Ahrens, F., Dobrzykowski, D., & Sawaya, W. (2019). Addressing mass-customization trade-offs in bottom of the pyramid markets. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management.
•    Batista, L., Bourlakis, M., Liu, Y., Smart, P., & Sohal, A. (2018). Supply chain operations for a circular economy. Production Planning & Control, 29(6), 419-424.
•    Cao, M., & Zhang, Q. (2011). Supply chain collaboration: Impact on collaborative advantage and firm performance. Journal of Operations Management, 29(3), 163-180.
•    Gabay, C., & Ilcan, S. (2017). The affective politics of the sustainable development goals: Partnership, capacity-building, and big data. Globalizations, 14(3), 468-485.
•    Govindan, K., Jha, P. C., Agarwal, V., & Darbari, J. D. (2019). Environmental management partner selection for reverse supply chain collaboration: A sustainable approach. Journal of Environmental Management, 236, 784-797.
•    Herczeg, G., Akkerman, R., & Hauschild, M. Z. (2018). Supply chain collaboration in industrial symbiosis networks. Journal of Cleaner Production, 171, 1058-1067.
•    Koster, M., Vos, B., & van der Valk, W. (2019). Drivers and barriers for adoption of a leading social management standard (SA8000) in developing economies. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management.
•    Meinlschmidt, J., Foerstl, K. and Kirchoff, J. (2016), The role of absorptive and desorptive capacity (ACDC) in sustainable supply management: A longitudinal analysis, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 46(2), 177-211.
•    Niesten, E., Jolink, A., de Sousa Jabbour, A. B. L., Chappin, M., & Lozano, R. (2017). Sustainable collaboration: The impact of governance and institutions on sustainable performance. Journal of Cleaner Production, 155, 1-6.
•    Sancha, C., Gimenez, C., & Sierra, V. (2016). Achieving a socially responsible supply chain through assessment and collaboration. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, 1934-1947.
•    Shumon, R., Halim, Z., Rahman, S. and Ahsan, K. (2019), How do suppliers address stringent environmental requirements from buyers? An exploratory study in the Bangladesh ready-made garment industry, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 49 (9), 921-944. 
•    Subramaniam, P., Iranmanesh, M., Kumar, K. and Foroughi, B. (2019), The impact of multinational corporations’ socially responsible supplier development practices on their corporate reputation and financial performance, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 50(1), 3-25.
•    Touboulic, A., & Walker, H. (2015). Love me, love me not: A nuanced view on collaboration in sustainable supply chains. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 21(3), 178-191.
•    Varga, V., & Rosca, E. (2019). Driving impact through base of the pyramid distribution models. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management.
•    Winter, M., & Knemeyer, A. M. (2013). Exploring the integration of sustainability and supply chain management: Current state and opportunities for future inquiry. International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, 43(1), 18-38.

Guest Editors

Dr. K. Mathiyazhagan,
Operations & Quantitative Methods,
Thiagarajar School of Management (Autonomous)
Madurai, Tamilnadu, India
Email: [email protected] 

Prof. Ravi Shankar, 
Amar S Gupta Chair Professor of Decision Science
Department of Management Studies, Vishwakarma Building,         
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, 
New Delhi 110 016, India.
Email: [email protected];  [email protected]

Dr. Vernika Agarwal,
Assistant Professor,
Amity International Business School
Amity University,
Sector 125, Noida - 201303, UP, India. 
Email: [email protected]; [email protected]