Vulnerability of Sustainable Supply Chains: Demand-Side Approach
Purpose: Changing economic conditions, including increasingly complex relationships between actors in the supply chain, are making the supply chain more sensitive and are lacking in transparency. The main research problem was whether or not demand uncertainties affect the vulnerability of sustainable supply chains (SSC). Design/Methodology/Approach: The following research methods were selected: literature analysis, and empirical research - questionnaire. The analysis and interpretation of the data obtained from the qualitative research were developed using quantitative methods - descriptive, as well as statistical, where the analysis of variance-ANOVA was used. Findings: Several factors influencing the sensitivity of SSC has been identified. One of the most frequent factors was the uncertainty of demand. Global trends in the implementation of sustainable development principles in various economic spheres, as well as customer requirements to offer organic products, are forcing adjustment decisions in the supply chain. Demand side and consumer research allows to design supply side research. The results should give a chance to confront and explore the relationships between customer expectations and what in terms of vulnerability is done by the links in the supply chain. This approach can identify common elements and differences in understanding not only sustainable chain strategies but will also allow the creation of a catalogue or model to create defensive mechanisms and immunization of sustainable supply chains. Practical Implications: Implications for business practice may relate to the identification of directions, areas and processes for the implementation of sustainable development principles in the supply chain strategy, in order to increase their efficiency, competitive position and the level of innovation as well as to identify customer expectations regarding the purchase of organic products and to identify elements that may affect the vulnerability of such a chain. Originality/value: The novelty and originality of the considerations is to examine the demand side in the context of the sensitivity of sustainable supply chains. A novelty is shown how dedicated groups of buyers indicate assessment of the importance of the different aspects: social, ecological, financial, and economic aspects of SSC. This can be the basis for original supply side research.