Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Colombian Agricultural Sector

Professor Jonathan Gosling; Professor Jeff Jia at the University of Exeter Business School, UK

Assistant Professor Ximena Rueda Fajardo; Associate Professor Bart van Hoof at the School of Management of Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

The collaboration between the University of Exeter Business School and School of Management at Universidad de los Andes (SM-UA) in Colombia is a newly established one supported by the Newton Caldas Institutional Links Fund from the British Council. The institutional Links is part of the UK’s official development assistance programme that provides grants for the development of research and innovation between the UK and partner countries. In this collaboration we are working together to build capacity at SM-UA in Sustainable Supply Chain Management in the Colombian Agricultural Sector.

Sustainable supply management (SSM) is an emerging topic relevant for Colombia because of its rapidly economic growth, which is not necessarily happening on a sustainable way. Concerns for the unequal distribution of land and income has led the Colombian government, international aid agencies and private companies to promote partnerships between large companies and smallholders in the agricultural sector.  These partnerships are diverse in terms of the degree of formalization, the governance structure and their ability to share knowledge, practices and value along the supply chain. A systematic analysis of such engagements and business models is lacking, and information on the impacts of sustainability initiatives on smallholders, and the natural environment, derived from those partnerships, is incipient.

This project has the objective of evaluating different forms of collaboration between companies (Colombian and multinational) and their agricultural suppliers for both, domestic and international markets. The project will expand from its necessarily focused research to engage companies, cooperatives and government agencies in a much-needed debate about who derives value from food production, processing, distribution and sale. This will be possible thanks to our partnership with REDESCAR, a Colombian public-private partnership (PPP) that aims at transforming industrial and agricultural supply chains characterized by large anchor companies and small-size suppliers.

We aim at building a long-term sustainable relationship together in both, research and teaching.  We are expecting wider impacts in three domains, including the agriculture sector in Colombia, academic and policy frameworks in that country, and global food security systems.

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