Research / Projects

Chemicals in textiles: Managing environmental and health risks from products with complex product chains

The objective of this interdisciplinary research project is to gain insights about the dilemmas, opportunities, and challenges that private and public organizations face regarding the development of responsible procurement, including how they manage environmental and health risk in different parts of a complex product chain. The case in question is the textile sector.

Our analysis of responsible procurement in this sector includes a focus on (i) priorities and knowledge – or lack of knowledge – among public and private procuring organizations about chemical risks in different parts of the production chain; (ii) the communicative strategies and channels procuring organizations use internally and in relation to other actors and (iii) how procuring organizations use, interpret, and combine existing mandatory and voluntary regulatory frameworks. The project also has a normative aim to, on the basis of the project's scientific results, propose measures to facilitate responsible procurement and mitigating the risks. We use a comparative case study approach, including semi-structured interviews, document studies, and field trips.

Publications:

Maria Lidberg. 2011. Hantering av miljö- och hälsorisker i textila produktkedjor: En fallstudie av Stockholms läns landsting. Södertörn University.

Magnus Boström, Natasja Börjeson, Michael Gilek, Anna Maria Jönsson, and Mikael Karlsson (2011) Towards responsible procurement in relation to chemical risks in textiles? Findings from an interview study. Södertörn's working report series. 2011:2. Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden.

Magnus Boström, Natasja Börjeson, Michael Gilek, Anna Maria Jönsson, and Mikael Karlsson (2012) Responsible procurement and complex product chains: the case of chemical risks in textiles. Journal of Environmental Policy and Managment 55(1):95-111Conference paper:

Magnus Boström, Michael Gilek, Anna Maria Jönsson, and Mikael Karlsson (2011) "Responsible procurement, complex product chains and the integration of vertical and horizontal governance" Paper presented at "Earth System Governance: Crossing Boundaries and Building Bridges, Colorado State University, 17-20 May 2011, at 10th Nordic Environmental Social Science (NESS) Conference, Stockholm, 14-16 June, 201; and at Nordic Sociological Association (NSA) Conference, Oslo, 4-7 August 2011, workshop on Environment, risk and expertise.

Publications

The governance of the environmental and health problems that follow in the wake of globalised trade is one of the great contemporary challenges. One of these challenges is the management of chemical pollution and associated risks, and one sector facing this challenge is the textile industry, which has complex supply chains spread across continents. At the same time the role of actors on the playing field are changing and market actors are being called on to responsibly manage the issue of chemical risks and associated challenges. However, governance and control are often obstructed due to complexity and considerable knowledge uncertainty. This situation complicates responsibility-taking and makes it difficult to ascribe liabilities to specific actors, as it is not obvious who is responsible for what. This thesis is concerned with the process of how a group of market actors – private and public textile buyers – assume responsibility of chemical risks in their supply chains in a situation that is characterized by uncertainty and complexity. This thesis aims to contribute to an understanding of what happens when market actors are called on to manage the negative side effects of globalisation. The focus is on Swedish textile-buying private and public organisations. The thesis constructs an analytical model based on the key concepts responsible governance, responsibilisation, and responsible supply chain management (RSCM). The thesis explores the barriers, challenges and opportunities that exist for buyers seeking to assume RSCM and whether a process of responsibilisation can be observed in the textile sector. The thesis uses an exploratory approach and interviews, participatory observations and literature studies, as well as case studies to understand the process and to investigate barriers, challenges, opportunities. In summary, the thesis shows that a process of responsibilisation is ongoing on the organisational and sector levels. Further, it is shown that due to the complex structures of the chains, there are more barriers and challenges than opportunities for buyers striving for RSCM. However, it is argued that cooperation, stronger public and private policy, and a reflexive approach could be ways forward towards RSCM and increased responsibilisation in the textile sector.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Magnus Boström

Natasja Börjeson

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2017

School/Centre

School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies

Environmental Science


Research area for doctoral studies

Environmental Studies

Sustainability 2015, 11 (1): 21-31.

Departing from previous theoretical and empirical studies on sustainable supply-chain management, we investigate organizational commitment (drivers and motivations) and capabilities (resources, structures, and policy instruments) in sustainable procurement of “noncore” products. By focusing on chemicals in textiles, the article explores the activi-ties of differently sized organizations and discusses the potentials and limitations of sustainable procurement measures. The study is based on a qualitative and comparative approach, with empirical findings from 26 case stud-ies of Swedish public and private procurement organizations. These organizations operate in the sectors of hotels/ conference venues, transport, cinema, interior design, and hospitals/daycare. While this work demonstrates major challenges for buyers to take into account peripheral items in sustainable procurement, it also identifies constructive measures for moving forward. A general sustainability/environmental focus can, as an effect, spill over to areas per-ceived as peripheral. © 2014 Boström et al.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Anna Maria Jönsson

Eva Hedenström

Michael Gilek

Magnus Boström


Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2015

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education

School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies

Environmental Science

Media and Communication Studies


Research area for doctoral studies

Environmental Studies

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Mikael Karlsson

Natasja Börjeson

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes


School/Centre

School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies

Environmental Science


Research area for doctoral studies

Environmental Studies

Status

Finished

Project Manager

People linked to the project

Anna Maria Jönsson
Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor
School of Culture and Education

Michael Gilek
Professor
School of Natural Science, Technology and Environmental Studies

Natasja Börjeson
Doctoral Student
School of Natural Science, Technology and Environmental Studies


Eva Hedenström

Mikael Karlsson

More information

Project start: 2009
Project end: 2012

Financier: Östersjöstiftelsen

Research linked to the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe: Yes

Information på svenska

Subjects to which the project is linked

Research area for doctoral studies to which the project is linked