ICOA PhD Student invited as co-researcher on major German research project with strong business partners

Sustainable Sourcing Excellence is also a matter of organizational design. The economic crisis and drop in company income has made sustainability in international purchasing and procurement logistics most relevant.

2014.01.29 | Pernille Kallehave

Scarcity of raw materials, higher prizes, new environmental regulations and industry standards mean that the companies face sustainable sourcing dilemmeas  in pursuit of environmental sustainability while also the social and economic dimensions of sustainability must be considered.

Many Danish companies report on their sustainability efforts, but they use a variety of reporting tools, which makes it very difficult for their stakeholders to track and compare the effect of the initiatives of various companies. Especially the reporting on the sustainability impact of the global supply chains of the companies is very hard to calculate and this lack of transparency is a growing problem for investors and other stakeholders.  Danish companies are struggling with these issues and it is therefore relevant to look for international inspiration and knowledge.

The ambitious German project

In the fall of 2013 PhD Candidate Thomas Kjærgaard was invited to spend 3 months at the European Business School (EBS) near Frankfurt, working as a co-researcher on the Sustainable Sourcing Excellence (SSE) project funded by the German government. In collaboration with colleagues at the Institute for Supply Chain Management (ISCM) Thomas had the specific task of developing a reporting standard with a framework for sustainability performance and associated reporting guidelines for the companies’ supply- and value chains.

Engagement with major business partners

Thomas utilized his previous research for the UN Global Compact Nordic Network and his professional background, which led to an extension of Thomas’s appointment, now fully financed by the SSE project. This continued appointment throughout 2014 was facilitated by the Prof. Dr. Kai Foerstl (SSE Lead Manager) and the ISCM Director, Prof. H. Sebastian Heese.  The SSE project business partners include the major companies Deutsche Telekom, Dachser, Clariant and Thomas has furthermore engaged with a number of major German and Nordic companies in the research.

Organization Design an important tool to meet sustainability demands

Thomas’ work on the SSE project exemplifies the value of researchers with an interdisciplinary approach as practiced at ICOA. Also, the appointment illustrates the strength of using Organizational Design as a method, which in this case facilitates the connection between sustainability performance and the constantly changing environment for companies.


Knowledge exchange, ICOA