Sustainability Collaboration Across Athletic Apparel Supply Chains

Presenter: Jake Kearney

Research Category:
College: D'Amore-McKim School of Business
Major(s): Supply Chain Management
Graduation Date: 2021

A search for lower production costs has led parts of the athletic apparel industry to unsustainable and ethically questionable practices to manufacture products. Such supply chains are connected from their retailers to their suppliers, and further to their boards. We seek to assess how a broad selection of apparel companies are connected to each other and how they are co-creating the future of supply in their industry. By utilizing best in-class data sources such as Bloomberg, we quantitively evaluate these firms through their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) rankings. While we seek to understand what larger and smaller companies are doing to enhance their sustainability. We assess their supply networks, looking at each companyÕs multi-tiered suppliers to find areas of success and risk in this industry. Qualitatively, we look at allegations that have affected each firm, how that company has addressed such issues, and then compare that performance to their current ESG ranking. We further seek to understand how these firms are connected by analyzing their board of directors and understanding how their members are shared across the industry, inferring where their corporate values and decisions may stem from. This research will enable recommendations that will lead to more sustainable supply chain operations, causing firms to be accountable for who their multi-tier suppliers are, an understanding of the leadership connections across their strategic initiatives and how those actions effect the sustainable lifecycle of their current and future products.