Conceptualization and development of an instrument to measure Supply chain sustainability Md. Maruf Hossan Chowdhury*, Eijaz Ahmed Khan** and Mohammed Naim A. Dewan*** Despite a wide range of research on sustainability, supply chain sustainability assessment and measurement model has not been explored far. As a result, sustainability construct scales are misspecified and this might lead to reduced scale validity. Existence of such a void in the literature the manoeuvre of this research was to conceptualize and develop a measurement scale for supply chain sustainability constructs in the context of Ready-made Garment Industry (RMG) in Bangladesh. The study was designed in a mixed method research stream. The dimensions and their measurement were conceptualised based on extensive literature review and then qualitative field study was performed to contextualise the dimensions and their measurement items. Content analysis procedures were utilized to analyse the transcribed field study interviews. The items developed from literature and field study were analysed through Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA). Four dimensions of sustainability: social, environmental, economic and operational were explored from the EFA. Therefore, supply chain sustainability in the context of RMG industry of Bangladesh found to be four dimensional hierarchical construct. 1. INTRODUCTION Supply chain sustainability is echoed frequently owing to the significant attention of governments, profit and non-profit organizations on environmental and social responsibility. Mounting interest in the field of supply chain sustainability research can be traced over the last couple of years, which offers the promise of promoting sustainability in the focal company as well as its suppliers and consumers end. The terms supply chain sustainability and sustainable supply chain often used synonymously. sustainable supply management relies on the sustainability of supply chains because of the fact that the focal companies held accountable for the environmental and social performance of supply chain members (Oec, 2005). Therefore, sustainability in supply chain management is critical for the success of whole supply chain management. To achieve sustainability in the supply chain it is important to quantify and measure the sustainability of the supply chain entities. Therefore, measurement of different dimensions of sustainability is crucial to manage sustainability in the supply chain. In recent years, an increasing number of special issues on sustainability and sustainable SCM have been edited in Journal of Supply Chain Management (Pagell and WU, 2009), Journal of cleaner production (Seuring and Muller, 2008), Supply Chain Management: an International Journal (Lindgreen et al., 2009), Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management (Gold et al., 2010), International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management (Carter and Easton, 2011), International journal of production economics (Ageron et al., 2012). However, still there is deficit of research dealing on sustainable supply chain sustainability (Seuring and Muller, 2008). Measurement of supply chain sustainability integrating social, environmental and economic aspects is rare. Few studies are available pertaining to measurement of supply chain sustainability e.g. (Zhu et al., 2008); (Carter and Jennings, 2004). But these studies focus either on environmental supply chain management or purchasing social responsibility across social and environmental dimensions. To the best of researchers’ knowledge empirically developed measurement instrument for supply chain sustainability integrating the dimensions of social, environmental and economic sustainability has not yet been established which aggravated the researchers to pursuit the scale development for supply chain sustainability. The main objective of this research is to develop a multidimensional sustainability scale for measuring supply chain sustainability. As such, our specific objectives are, first, to conceptualize the nature and dimensions of the supply chain sustainability. Second, we focus on systematically developing a scale to measure supply chain sustainability. Our third objective is to assess the psychometric properties of the supply chain sustainability scale. Finally, the study concludes by discussing the research implications, limitations and future research directions. . 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Sustainability Climate change, depletion of resources, increased pollution, energy consumption, violation of social rights, poor working environment, demand for transparency regarding social and environmental performance have brought the agenda of sustainability in every walk of our life and within the broader facets of society (Carter and Easton, 2011). Sustainability can be referred as ‘‘creating long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments’’ (Jones, 2005). In other words it is termed as “make the world a better place for future generations” and to “provide the processes and products which will give the people of the world shelter, clothing, food and drink, and which keep them in good health” (IChemE, 2005). The most popular and widely accepted concept of sustainability is the meeting the needs of the present in a way that do not deter the ability of meeting the needs of future generations. (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p. 8): In the recent years the domain of sustainability has magnified beyond the organizational boundary with incorporating the whole rubric of the supply chain (Gold et al., 2010) because focal firms are not only responsible for own operations but also responsible for the environmental and social issues of their supply chain members (Oec, 2005). 2.2 Supply chain sustainability Sustainability in supply chain is introduced by most researchers as sustainable supply chain management. Sustainable supply chain management has got substantial interests to academic and corporate body just over a decade (Corbett and Klassen, 2006; Seuring and Muller, 2008). There are still fundamental issues that need to be addressed to assist business managers and supply chain professionals to achieve supply chain sustainability (Pagell and WU, 2009). A sustainable supply chain (SSC) is one that “manage material, information and capital ﬂows and cooperate among all entities in the chain with a view to achieve the economic, environmental and social goals deriving from customer and stakeholder requirements” (Seuring and Muller, 2008). To be responsible to stakeholders, environmental and social burden arising from different stages of production such as the environmental and social performance of supply chain members need to be acknowledged (Oec, 2005). In this regard, branded companies sometimes come under pressure from stakeholders, such as government, activists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) if there is problem in the chain (Seuring and Muller, 2008). Likewise, the branded apparel chains such as Nike, Disney, Levi Strauss, Benetton, Adidas or C&A have been accused few years back for problems in the upstream supply chain with respect to production of their clothing (Preuss, 2001; Seuring and Muller, 2008). Despite the essence of SSCM, the literature on SSCM is limited and not enough (Gold et al., 2010). Studies mostly encapsulate social, environmental and economic issues in a standalone fashion rather that integrated. In the management literature, most of the existing studies on organizational sustainability and supply chain sustainability have focused on environmental aspects and have little consideration to social and economic aspects (Carter and Rogers, 2008). Studies of (Carter, 2004; Chowdhury et al., 2012c; de Brito et al., 2008; Hutchins and Sutherland, 2008) are perhaps the only few that consider both social and environmental sustainability in supply chain. However, these studies fall short of integrating all wings of sustainability in supply chain for example, the study of (de Brito et al., 2008) analyses sustainability only from logistical point of view and lacks indication regarding influence of manufacturing operation on social and environmental aspects. Similarly, (Hutchins and Sutherland, 2008) studied on supply chain sustainability mainly on social perspective and (Carter, 2004) focuses on social and environmental responsibility during purchasing. In this regard (Carter and Jennings, 2002; Carter and Rogers, 2008) rightly mentioned that integrated study incorporating economic, social and environmental aspects is sparse. The study of (Carter and Rogers, 2008) is a milestone in the literature of SSCM. Using the triple bottom line concept of John (Elkington, 1999) as a core, they introduce a theoretical framework of sustainability in supply chain which they denoted as SSCM. (Carter and Rogers, 2008) suggest that SSCM is essential for organizations as SSCM enables the long-run improvement of an organization’s economic bottom line. Though informative and widely covered, the study is still conceptual and has lack of indication about measurement aspects of social, environmental and economic issues. In the midst of existing void of lacking integrated empirical work on social, environmental and economic sustainability in supply chain, the underlying study fills the gap by considering all aspects of sustainability in the chain. It also addresses the interrelation among the social, environmental, economic and other aspects of SSCM. 2.3 Dimensions of supply chain Sustainability Previous studies focused on different dimensions for achieving and improving sustainability but the most widely used dimensions can be found in the triple bottom line concept of John Elkington (Elkington, 1999). The United Nations world summit 2005 also describes the three pillar of sustainability: environmental sustainability, social sustainability, and economic sustainability. Now it is commonly agreed standing that a balance between social, environmental and economic factors is inevitable for the long term success and sustainability of the organizations which is also one of the outlines inherent in stakeholder theory (Freeman, 1984). The “triple bottom line” served as a common ground for numerous sustainability standards in business, such as, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and International Standard Organizations (ISO) 14001, The sustainability metrics by Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) (Delai and Takahashi, 2011). Based on the multitude of products, services and operations, (Epstein and Wisner, 2001; Hutchins and Sutherland, 2008; Labuschagne et al., 2005; Vasileiou and Morris, 2006) and others measure sustainability in the specific context. In spite of these, still there is a paucity of sustainability performance measurement (Ramos and Caeiro, 2010) and it still faces some considerable challenges such as lack of integrated focus for measuring economic, social and environmental aspects (Adams and Frost, 2008; Labuschagne et al., 2005; Singh et al., 2009). Though sustainability measurement is firmly discussed in the studies of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, supply chain sustainability measurement is hardly found. Few studies e.g. (Ageron et al., 2012; Carter, 2004; de Brito et al., 2008) include some of the aspects of sustainable supply chain and its measurement. However, empirically tested measurement of supply chain sustainability in terms of social, environmental and economic issues is very rare. Therefore, it has become forefront of supply chain research. 2.3.1 Social sustainability in supply chain Social dimension of sustainability stresses on how to bring human wellbeing, how to meet their needs and how to generate development opportunities for all (Comission on sustainable development, 2002). Social sustainability mainly focuses on the corporate social responsibility (CSR) practice of the businesses. The fulfilment of the social issues is intended to minimize any harm and maximize the long run beneficial impact of the firm on society (Bloom and Gundlach, 2000). From organizational perspective social sustainability focuses on impact of organizational activity on the stakeholders specifically, employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and government (Delai & Takahashi, 2011). In the contemporary world social sustainability has got intensive focus because of the high profile corporate failures (Aaronson, 2002), and failure to observe social issues by the chain members (Chowdhury et al., 2012a; Kolk and Pinkse, 2006). Among the lot, the poor working environment in apparel manufacturing companies of underdeveloped countries (Emmelhainz and Adams, 1999; Islam and Deegan, 2008) is worth mentioning. Such type of violation of social and environmental issues is not unlikely in the corporations of many developing countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan (Naeem and Welford, 2009). Therefore, social sustainability issues in the supply chain need to be emphasized while outsourcing from low cost countries. Social sustainability in the supply chain can be ensured by a number of factors such as fair wages, health and safety factors, child labour, force labour and some other indicators (Carter, 2004; de Brito et al., 2008; GRI, 2011; IChemE, 2005; Jones, 2005). Table 1 lists the factors associated with social sustainability. 2.3.2 Environmental sustainability Environmental sustainability focuses on the maintenance of natural capital (Goodland, 1995). Scholars argue that the depreciation of natural capital cannot go on endlessly (Lovins et al., 1999). In organizational perspective, environmental sustainability concentrates on the production and consumption of resources by corporations in a responsible fashion (Seuring and Muller, 2008). Responsible companies now keep track to the carbon foot print of their activities and open the records to the public. The consumers’ concern and environmental regulation regarding the impact of production and consumption is getting tougher as a result companies are shifting their production bases to the areas where the regulations are relaxed specifically the developing and under developed countries. Environmental factors shall not be overlooked while outsourcing from low cost countries (de Brito et al., 2008). The cause of concern is that some production processes have high environmental impact for example, because the processes of dyeing, drying and finishing, the apparel industry make intensive use of chemical products and natural resources (Caniato et al., 2012; de Brito et al., 2008). Moreover, the production of fibres, such as cotton, wool and synthetics, has a significant environmental impact (Caniato et al., 2012). In such a situation the environmental factors along with economic factors need to be considered throughout the supply chain for long term sustainability. Studies (de Brito et al., 2008; GRI, 2011; Hervani et al., 2005; Pagell and WU, 2009) and others refer a number of practices to ensure environmental sustainability in the supply chain such as pollution control, waste recycling, compliance of environmental issues, supplier’s environmental performance evaluation and monitoring and others. Table 1 lists the practices relating to environmental sustainability. 2.3.3 Economic sustainability Economic sustainability evaluates short term and long term economic value generated by the organizational activities and the corresponding relationship with shareholders (Delai & Takahashi, 2011). It focuses on that segment of the natural resources base which provides physical inputs, both renewable and exhaustible, into the production process (Goodland, 1995). For example, financial capital, such as, debt-equity, tangible capital and intangible capital need to be managed sustainably to produce maximum outputs. In other words, economic sustainability is concerned with long term economic health or organization and accounts for share value, sales growth, profitability, such as, debt-equity, and other important indicators while maintaining social and environmental responsibilities (Delai & Takahashi, 2011). It is not enough to maintain profit and growth for the company itself rather the economic health of all supply chain members shall be considered because competition is no longer confined between firm to firm rather extended to supply chain versus supply chain (Mentzer et al., 2001). Failure to keep cost of production lower than the competitor makes the companies and their supply chain less profitable and incompetent in the highly competitive market. To keep the production cost lower some companies shift their production location in cheaper labour areas. For example, European clothing and textile factories could not sustain their production in Europe as a result shifted to low cost underdeveloped Asian and South American region or got engaged in outsource which created thousands of people unemployed (de Brito et al., 2008). Similarly, the companies that are operating in the low cost areas now need to consider the management capabilities and technological up gradation to remain economically sustainable in the long run. A number of factors can be maintained to ensure economic sustainability of the organizations and their supply chains. However, Sales, cost, Value addition, Net income before tax and Return on average capital employed are most widely cited factors for economic sustainability (Delai and Takahashi, 2011; GRI, 2011). 3. INSTRUMENT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS To develop an instrument for measuring supply chain sustainability, this study began by investigating commonly cited items under each dimension of supply chain sustainability, as outlined in the previous section. Through this process, three primary dimensions were identified that reflect supply chain sustainability: social sustainability, environmental sustainability and economic sustainability. Social sustainability is concerned with the working conditions and human rights issues and monitoring social issues of suppliers. Environmental sustainability is related with pollution control, waste management, monitoring and evaluating environmental performance of suppliers. Economic sustainability includes profitability, cost, sales and growth. The investigation of literature reveals the conceptualization that sustainability is a multidimensional, hierarchical. It is also identified that sustainability dimensions may vary in different context. Therefore, we conducted an exploratory qualitative study to explore the specific dimensions and to confirm the contextual appropriateness of the primary dimensions identified in the literature. 3.1 Qualitative study This study concentrated on RMG industry of Bangladesh which is one of the leading exporters of RMG in the world. RMG industry is an economic propeller of Bangladesh and accounts for 78.6% of total export earnings and over 4 million direct employments of which 80% are women. Moreover, apparel exports stood-up at 19.90 billion US dollar in 2011 and marked us as the second largest apparel exporter in the world (BGMEA, 2012). Despite its huge potentiality, the RMG supply chain is facing a climax situation owing to myriads of challenges such as labour unrest for violation of human rights, poor wages, lack of safety measures and hazardous working environment, environmental pollution, political instability, interruption in utility supply especially power shortage, inefficiency in customs and port management, exchange rate fluctuation, longer lead time, increased competition, disruption in supply of fabrics and other accessories in time, increased competition, inefficiency in operation, (Chowdhury et al., 2012b; Haider, 2007; Islam and Deegan, 2008; Nuruzzaman, 2009; Paul-Majumder, 2001). These incidences often threaten the sustainability of RMG supply chain of Bangladesh. In such condition through the qualitative interview we try explore the sustainability practises in RMG supply chain of Bangladesh. In our study, we obtained qualitative data from 15 in-depth interviews conducted with supply chain decision makers of RMG manufacturing companies and the accessory producing companies. Each interview lasted for approximately 45-60 mins. Participants were selected using convenient sampling to ensure productive findings and the richest data for scale development. In each case, respondents were asked a number of questions to explore the practises related to the sustainability of their supply chain. The answers were recorded, synthesized and categorized to identify the core dimensions with respect to supply chain sustainability. In the qualitative study, the respondents opined about different dimensions of supply chain sustainability which indicates the multi-dimensional aspect of supply chain sustainability. Throughout the study the respondents stated either about social issues (e.g. “we need to maintain social compliance to get orders” or environmental sustainability issues (e.g. “we care about waste disposals”) or economic factors (e.g. “we need enough sales to continue business”). Respondents also mentioned about a number of factors which are not related with the widely discussed social, environmental and economic factors but associated with operational issues (e.g. “we need to meet quality and specifications of buyers.”). These issues were considered under the dimension operational sustainability. Though we developed the dimensions based on the themes identified in the qualitative study, the literature was used to support our findings. 3.1.1 Social sustainability Social sustainability emphasize on Social fairness and sustainable human resource management (de Brito et al., 2008). More specifically it lays importance on the themes such as fair pay, health and safety factors, child labour, force labour, supplier evaluation on social issues etc. (Boyd et al., 2007; Carter, 2004; de Brito et al., 2008; GRI, 2011; Hutchins and Sutherland, 2008; IChemE, 2005; Jones, 2005). From the qualitative field interview data, eight themes were found related to social sustainability in the supply chain which are: wages, benefits, hazard and safety, health and sanitation, child labour, force labour, employee satisfaction, monitoring suppliers. These themes were frequently referred by the respondents and following comments can be cited as examples: “We must need to pay a minimum wage”; “we provide leave benefit and medical benefit to our workers”; “we conduct fire drilling and safety inspection”; “we supply pure drinking water and maintain cleanliness”; ‘‘we do not have any child labour and we show zero tolerance about child labour”; “our buyers visit our plant to evaluate working environment and pollution level” etc. A summary of field study responses with respect to social issues can be obtained from Table 1. It is revealed from Table 1 that all respondents (N=15) are concerned about child labour and forced labour because these are very sensitive issues to international buyers. 3.1.2 Environmental sustainability Environmental sustainability encompasses reduction of environmental impact i.e. environment friendliness of operation (Chien and Shih, 2007; de Brito et al., 2008; Tan et al., 2002). More specifically it focuses on the themes such as pollution, waste disposals, recycling, environmental audit, suppliers’ environmental performance evaluation etc. (Carter, 2004; Chien and Shih, 2007; de Brito et al., 2008; GRI, 2011; IChemE, 2005; Jones, 2005). From qualitative field interview data, seven themes were found related to social sustainability in the supply chain which are: water pollution, air pollution, soil pollution, waste recycling, hazardous material, environmental certification and audit, and suppliers’ environmental performance evaluation. These themes were frequently referred by the respondents and following comments can be cited as examples: “We have effluent treatment plant (ETP) to reduce chemical and water pollution”; “we do not have emission”; “we sell clothing wastes to recyclers”; we do not use banned chemicals and hazardous material”; “we have environmental certificate”; “our buyers monitor our plant”. A summary of field study responses with respect to environmental issues can be obtained from Table 1. It can be cited from Table 1 that all respondents (N=15) are serious about hazardous material because pre-shipment inspection is needed to confirm about the hazardous material presence. 3.1.3 Economic sustainability Economic sustainability focuses on short term and long term economic performance of organizations (Delai & Takahashi, 2011). It emphases on the issues such as costs, sales, value added, return on capital, etc. (GRI, 2011; IChemE, 2005; Jones, 2005). From qualitative field interview data, four themes were found related to economic sustainability in the supply chain which are: profit, costs, sales, and sales growth. These issues were frequently referred by the respondents and following comments can be cited as examples: “we can make good profit”; we calculate the cost of product “Our sales are increasing”. A summary of field study responses with respect to environmental issues can be obtained from Table 1. It is revealed from Table 1 that all respondents (N=15) are highly conscious about cost of production because of severe competition is in international market. 3.1.4 Operational sustainability From the field study the operational compliance was emerged as a new component of sustainability in RMG supply chain of Bangladesh. It was evident that a substantial number of participants laid emphasis on operational aspects in terms of conformance of quality of products (N=15), meeting delivery lead time (N=15), maintaining reliability on specifications (N=15), and efficient updated machinery (N=9) for the sustainability of RMG supply chain. It was also observed that because of short lifecycle of fashion products the supply chain members are very concerned about time. RMG products are also sensitive to design, colour and use of accessories. The significance of quality and on time delivery was reflected by the statement of participant 4: “……we need to ensure quality and on time delivery to satisfy the buyers and to continue business….” The manufacturers need to submit samples for buyers’ approval before producing in a bulk quantity. If the size, colour, design and other specifications are approved by the buyers, operation is started. Sometimes, buyers reject some batches of production because of non-conformity of final bulk production with the approved sample. It’s a huge economic loss and reputation loss for the garment manufacturers. Moreover, buyers set a fixed lead time and within this time the manufacturers need to accomplish procurement, production and delivery of finished products. If there is any deviation buyers are dissatisfied and even reject the shipment. A survey on previous literature show evidences in favour of quality, leadtime, and conformance with specification for competitiveness and sustainability of business (Bateman and David, 2002; Bicheno, 1998; Epstein and Wisner, 2001). Based on the findings from content analysis and theoretical justification we conceptualized sustainability as a multi-dimensional hierarchical construct which is reflected by the dimensions: social, environmental, economic and operational sustainability. Table 1: supply chain sustainability dimensions and their measurement Factor Variable Participants 6 7 y y y y y y y - 1 y y y y y 2 y y y y y 3 y y y 4 y y y y y 5 y y y 8 9 10 11 y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y - 12 y y y - 13 y y y y - 14 y y - 15 y y y y y y y y y y y y y y - y y y y y y y y y y y - y y y y - y - - - - y y y y - - y y y y y y y y - y y y y y - - - - y y y y y y - - - y y y y y y y - - - y y - y y y - y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y - y - y y - y y y y y y - y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y - - y - y y y y - y - - y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y Cost y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y Profit y y y y y y y y y y y y y y Sales growth y y y y y y - y y y y - - - SUS1 SUS2 SUS3 SUS4 SUS5 SUS6 SUS7 Wages Benefits and facilities Facilities Hazard and safety Health and sanitation Child labour Forced labour SUS8 y y y y - y - y y SUS9 Social compliance of suppliers Employee are satisfaction y y y y - y - y SUS10 Water pollution y y y y - y y SUS11 Air pollution y y y y - y SUS12 Soil pollution y y y y - SUS13 Recycling wastes y y y y y SUS14 SUS15 Hazardous material certification and audit y y y y y y y y SUS16 Complying legislation y y y SUS17 SUS18 Monitoring suppliers lead time y y y y y y SUS19 Quality y y SUS20 Specification y SUS21 Updated Machinery SUS22 SUS23 Sales SUS24 SUS25 y y 3.2 Scale development To develop scales for the supply chain sustainability dimensions (i.e. social, environmental, economic and operational sustainability) as identified in the qualitative study, items creation and items purification by pretesting were performed at this stage. The step items creation was performed with the aim of ensuring content validity by selecting the right items for the construct. On the other hand items’ purification was conducted with the objective of affirming both content validity and construct validity by determining the convergence and divergence of items under each dimension. 3.2.1 Item Creation To create a set of items under each construct, items were identified using existing instruments as well as additional items were created through exploratory interviews. The findings from content analysis were compared with existing scales to match the construct definitions. To develop scales for social sustainability, Environmental sustainability and economic sustainability most of the items were adapted from sustainability indices such as (GRI, 2011; IChemE, 2005; Jones, 2005) as well as study of (Carter, 2004; Epstein and Wisner, 2001) and others. However, no valid and reliable scales were identified to measure operational sustainability. New scales thus had to be developed for this construct. This construct was developed from field study findings. Theoretical justification was also established in line with the study of (Bateman and David, 2002; Bicheno, 1998; Epstein and Wisner, 2001) which confirmed the content validity of the construct. The items under different dimensions of supply chain sustainability, were selected using a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient or composite reliability with minimum thresh hold value of 0.60 and 0.7 respectively to ensure the reliability of the psychometric properties (Straub et al., 2004). Finally, item pools were created for the four supply chain sustainability dimensions following a thorough examination of the existing items, elimination of redundant items and the inclusion of new items to adjust the context for the current study. 3.2.2 Item purification A primary version of questionnaire was prepared consisting of 25 questions. The measurement instrument for each item consist of 6-point Likert scale (ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’), to avoid the tendency of selecting neutral answer and biasness. The instrument thus developed was administered for pretesting to ten respondents: four supply chain managers from garments manufacturing companies, three from accessory producing companies and three supply chain academics. Questionnaires were sent by email with feedback form. The respondents were asked for suggestions regarding addition or deletion of particular question, appropriateness in sorting/classification of items under each dimension, wording and understandability. Based on the opinion of the respondents it was realized that some statements in questionnaire need further clarification for better understandability. For example, the respondent asked about the clarification of the term “different specification of the buyers”. All the comments were considered into the final design of the questionnaire. The final version of the questionnaire was then organized for the pilot study with the aim of testing the instrument. 4. INSTRUMENT TESTING Following the reviews from pre-test procedure, a pilot survey was conducted with the purpose of ensuring the applicability of the data. The supply chain managers were targeted for data collection. In some companies the position of supply chain manager does not exist as a result the persons who perform the supply chain functions were communicated in those organizations. Respondents were selected by convenience sampling method from the list of garments manufacturers and accessories producers in BGMEA directory. The respondents were initially approached via phone and they were informed about the objective of the research. Then the managers who agreed to participate in the survey were selected for data collection. One hundred ten managers were communicated regarding the appointment of survey and finally eighty six managers consisting of sixty managers from RMG manufacturers and twenty six from accessory supplying companies were agreed to participate in the survey. Total eighty one usable response were obtained from pilot study. By means of the pilot study data we conducted the exploratory factor analysis using the varimax rotation procedure to assess the initial measurement scale. We used Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin (KMO) and Bartlett’s test of sphericity to evaluate the appropriateness of the factor analysis. The (KMO) test ensured the overall measure of sampling adequacy as it was 0.90 (>0.50). The Bartlett’s test of sphericity provide evidences for the validity of the instrument as it was 1550.134, df = 300, significant at p = 0.000. Four factors with eigenvalues greater than 1 were extracted, and after rotation, they were 5.076, 4.195, 3.213, and 3.147. The sums of squared loadings from the eight components had a cumulative value of 69.727% in explaining the total variance in data. In evaluating the result of factor analysis, items were deleted that had loading <0.40 or had cross loadings (>.5) with other factors (see Table 5). In this process, SUS3, SUS6, SUS9, SUS16, and SUS17 were deleted. Cronbach’s alpha values corresponding to each construct was also examined for ensuring reliability. It revealed that Cronbach’s alpha values of the extracted four factors exceeded the minimum threshold of 0.70. For further scale refinement corrected item–total correlation was examined to improve the reliability. No problem was identified in item total correlation results. Finally, the initial instrument was refined by removing low loading or cross loaded items. Out of 25 items the remaining 19 items were retained for the next run of factor analysis. The factor analysis with a varimax rotation, generated four factor solution (see Table 2), based on an eigenvalue greater than 1. The refined model explained 73.387% of the cumulative variance. Table 2: Results of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) in the pilot study. SUS1 SUS2 SUS3 SUS4 SUS5 SUS6 SUS7 SUS8 SUS9 SUS10 SUS11 SUS12 SUS13 SUS14 SUS15 SUS16 SUS17 SUS18 SUS19 SUS20 SUS21 SUS22 SUS23 SUS24 SUS25 We pay fair wages to our employees We provide Benefits to our employees We provide different facilities to our employees We take precaution to Hazard and safety We ensure health and sanitation for employees We do not use Child labour We do not force our employees to work We monitoring our suppliers social performance Our employees are satisfied with us We take measures to control water pollution We take measures to control Air pollution We take measures to control Soil pollution We recycle wastes or sell wastes to recyclers We do not use any environmentally hazardous material We have environment Certification and audit We comply environment legislation We evaluate suppliers’ environmental performance We can meet desired leadtime We maintain expected quality We can meet specifications of buyers. We have updated machinery and technology We have good sales volume Our cost of sales is low We good profit margin Our sales growth is satisfactory 1 .699 .625 .490 .624 .649 .429 .653 .786 .438 .400 .193 .167 .211 .239 .172 .466 .049 .463 .344 .404 .359 .386 .062 .219 .460 Component 2 3 .404 .350 .421 .447 .324 .584 .181 .531 .304 .431 .060 .492 .255 .175 .024 .034 .488 .313 .718 .119 .748 .375 .570 .268 .810 .138 .635 .369 .626 .274 .437 .044 .250 .759 .207 .646 .288 .589 .421 .734 .265 .640 .298 .375 .060 .295 .386 .234 .252 .287 4 .025 .230 .250 .067 .230 .255 .057 .115 .337 .207 .194 .404 .103 .329 .208 .222 .133 .535 .240 .365 .364 .651 .772 .689 .649 Table 3: Results of EFA of the refined scale in the pilot study. Factors Social sustainability Environmental sustainability Operational sustainability Economic sustainability Items Loadings Item total Eigenvalue correlation .775 3.368 SUS1 .713 SUS2 SUS3 SUS4 SUS5 SUS6 SUS7 SUS8 SUS9 SUS10 .632 .820 .629 .656 .709 .752 .671 .794 .525 .595 .729 .732 .754 .583 .817 .643 .634 .775 .484 .730 .677 .744 .655 .565 SUS11 SUS12 SUS13 SUS14 SUS15 SUS16 SUS17 SUS18 SUS19 SUS20 SUS21 SUS22 .593 .741 .646 .730 .808 .798 .658 .777 SUS23 SUS24 SUS25 .781 .701 .656 .691 .726 .779 Cumulative variation 25.6 Cronbach’s alpha .937 2.725 45.2 .935 1.896 60.8 .864 1.564 72.3 .889 5 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS 5.1 Summary of findings The objective of this study was to develop and validate an instrument for measuring supply chain sustainability in the context of RMG industry of Bangladesh. Despite the existence of enormous studies on sustainability and supply chain sustainability there was a dearth of measurement scale for assessing supply chain sustainability. As the development of a reliable and valid scale is a fundamental goal of scientific exploration in this study, the multi-dimensional supply chain sustainability instrument developed in this study makes an important contribution to theory, method and practice. The findings suggest that supply chain sustainability is reflected by four dimensions: social sustainability, environmental sustainability, operational sustainability and economic sustainability. The interesting finding of the study is the exploration of a new dimension i.e. operational sustainability in the context of RMG supply chain sustainability of Bangladesh. Our field study respondents strongly supported the importance of operational issues for survival and success of their business. Operational sustainability which was measured by time, quality, specification and use of updated technology are very relevant and vital factor for the sustainability and competitiveness of supply chain. Previous studies (Bateman and David, 2002; Bicheno,1998; Epstein and Wisner, 2001) also supported the importance of these operational issues for organizations and their supply chains. Therefore, out of the border of traditional triple bottom line settings of sustainability, incorporation of a fourth dimension (operational sustainability) in supply chain is logical and empirically valid. 5.2 Implications for theory Building on previous research, and filling the gaps in the existing literature, this research offers new and valuable insights by developing a research model and further, the developed model was contextualised through a qualitative field study. The final research model thus developed; address the sustainability requirements of RMG supply chain in Bangladesh and to ensure sustainability of the supply chain. This study has a novel contribution to the supply chain literature by developing and validating a higher-order supply chain sustainability model on four dimensions (i.e., social sustainability, environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and operational sustainability). Specifically, the contribution of this research to supply chain sustainability research is manifold. First, it identifies and defines the constructs and their associated measurement items in the context of RMG supply chain of Bangladesh. Second, this study unearthed a new dimension of sustainability (i.e. operational sustainability) out of the box of traditional triple bottom line settings of sustainability. Therefore, this study will enhance the body of knowledge on supply chain sustainability literature. 5.3 Implications for practice The implications of this research are significant to the Supply chain managers, specifically the RMG supply chain managers of Bangladesh and elsewhere. The findings suggest that the supply chain managers shall maintain a balance of social sustainability, environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and operational sustainability to survive and to compete in the long run. In fact, the RMG supply chain managers will be equipped with the knowledge on factors required for ensuring sustainability in the supply chain. For example, the social sustainability can be achieved through ensuring wages, benefits, health, safety issues, no to child and force labour, monitoring suppliers and employee satisfaction. Similarly, environmental sustainability can be achieved through controlling pollution (soil, water and air), waste recycling, controlling hazardous material, monitoring suppliers environmental performance and so on. Further, operational sustainability can be ensured through ensuring time, quality, specification and use of updated technology. Finally, economic sustainability can be ensured through maintain low cost, good margin, increasing sales and keeping sales growth. 6. LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS All research methods and designs have their own flaws and limitations (McGrath 1982). This research is also has got some limitations. Several limitations are worth noting. Firstly, this research adopts a cross sectional design which investigate the phenomenon of supply chain sustainability for a particular point-in-time. Longitudinal research design could capture the effects of supply chain sustainability and supply chain relationship in the long run. Thus, a longitudinal focus is recommended for future studies. Secondly, this research was conducted within the specific industry and in one country however, replications in other contexts would increase confidence in the research model. A confirmatory may be undertaken in future to test and validate the developed scale. Future research might also be conducted to investigate the interrelationships among the supply chain sustainability dimensions. For example, the relationship between economic sustainability and social sustainability as well as environmental sustainability may be explored. Another study may be conducted in a cross industrial setting to test the applicability of the scale items in a different context. REFERENCES Aaronson, S., 2002. How the Europeans got a head start on politics to promote global corporate responsibility. International Journal of Corporate Sustainability 9, 356-367. Adams, C.A., Frost, G.R., 2008. Integrating sustainability reporting into management practices, Accounting forum. Elsevier, pp. 288-302. Ageron, B., Gunasekaran, A., Spalanzani, A., 2012. Sustainable supply management: An empirical study. International journal of production economics 140, 168-182. Akter, S., D’Ambra, J., Ray, P., 2013. Development and validation of an instrument to measure user perceived service quality of mHealth. Information & Management. Bansal, M., Adhitya, A., Srinivansan, R., Karimi, I.A., 2005. An Online Decision Support Framework for Managing Abnormal Supply Chain Events. European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering – 15. Bansal, P., Roth, K., 2000. Why companies go green: a model of ecological responsiveness. Academy of Management Journal 43, 717-736. Bateman, N., David, A., 2002. Process improvement programmes: a model for assessing sustainability. International Journal of Operations & Production Management 22, 515-526. Becker, J.-M., Klein, K., Wetzels, M., 2012. Hierarchical latent variable models in PLS-SEM: guidelines for using reflective-formative type models. Long Range Planning. BGMEA, 2012. Bangladesh Apparel and Textiles Exposition. Bangladesg Garment Manufacturer Exporters Association, Dhaka. Bicheno, J., 1998. The quality 60: A guide for service and manufacturing. PICSIE Books, Buckingham, UK. Bloom, P.N., Gundlach, G.T., 2000. Handbook of Marketing and Society. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA. Bollen, K., Lennox, R., 1991. Conventional wisdom on measurement: A structural equation perspective. Psychological Bulletin 110, 305. Boyd, D.E., Spekman, R.E., Kamauff, J.W., Werhane, P., 2007. Corporate Social Responsibility in Global Supply Chains: A Procedural Justice Perspective. Long Range Planning 40, 341-356. Caniato, F., Caridi, M., Crippa, L., Moretto, A., 2012. Environmental sustainability in fashion supply chains: An exploratory case based research. International journal of production economics 135, 659-670. Carter, C.R., 2004. Purchasing and social responsibility: a replication and extension. Journal of Supply Chain Management 40, 4-16. Carter, C.R., Easton, P.L., 2011. Sustainable supply chain management: evolution and future directions. International journal of physical distribution & logistics management 41, 46. Carter, C.R., Jennings, M.M., 2002. Logistics social responsibility: an integrative framework. Journal of Business Logistics 23, 145-180. Carter, C.R., Jennings, M.M., 2004. The role of purchasing in corporate social responsibility: a structural equation analysis. Journal of Business Logistics 25, 145-186. Carter, C.R., Rogers, D.S., 2008. A framework of sustainable supply chain management: moving toward new theory. International journal of physical distribution & logistics management 38, 360. Chien, M., Shih, L., 2007. An empirical study of the implementation of green supply chain management practices in the electrical and electronic industry and their relation to organizational performances. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 4, 383-394. Chin, W.W., 2010. How to write up and report PLS analyses, Handbook of partial least squares. Springer, pp. 655-690. Chin, W.W., Newsted, P.R., 1999. Structural equation modeling analysis with small samples using partial least squares. Statistical strategies for small sample research 1, 307-341. Chowdhury, M.M.H., Dewan, M.N.A., Hossain, M.M., Quaddus, M.A., 2012a. An AHP-QFD integrated approach for mitigating barriers of corporate sustainability, 26th Annual Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Perth, Australia. Chowdhury, M.M.H., Dewan, M.N.A., Quaddus, M.A., 2012b. Supply Chain Resilience to Mitigate Disruptions: A QFD Approach, Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems. AIS, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. Chowdhury, M.M.H., Dewan, M.N.A., Quaddus, M.A., 2012c. Supply chain sustainability through complying buyers’ requirements in apparel industry: A fuzzy QFD approach, 26th Annual Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference Cohen, J., 1988. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciencies. Routledge. Corbett, C.J., Klassen, R.D., 2006. Extending the Horizons: Environmental Environmental Excellence as Key to Improving Operations. eScholarship Repository. de Brito, M.P., Carbone, V., Blanquart, C.M., 2008. Towards a sustainable fashion retail supply chain in Europe: Organisation and performance. International journal of production economics 114, 534-553. Delai, I., Takahashi, S., 2011. Sustainability measurement system: a reference model proposal. Social Responsibility Journal 7, 438-471. Efron, B., Tibshirani, R., 1993. An introduction to the bootstrap. CRC press. Elkington, J., 1999. Triple bottom-line reporting: Looking for balance. Intheblack 69. Emmelhainz, M.A., Adams, R.J., 1999. The Apparel Industry Response to “Sweatshop” Concerns: A Review and Analysis of Codes of Conduct. Journal of Supply Chain Management 35, 51-57. Epstein, M.J., Wisner, P.S., 2001. Using a Balanced Scorecard to Implement Sustainability. Environmental Quality Management 11, 1-10. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Buchner, A., Lang, A.-G., 2009. Statistical power analyses using G* Power 3.1: Tests for correlation and regression analyses. Behavior research methods 41, 1149-1160. Ferrari, G., Vargas-Vargas, M., 2010. Environmental sustainable management of small rural tourist enterprises. International Journal of Environmental Research 4, 407-414. Fornell, C., &, Larcker, D.F., 1981. Evaluating Structural Equations Models with Unobservable Variables and Measurement Error. Journal of Marketing Research 18, 39-50. Fornell, C., Bookstein, F.L., 1982. Two structural equation models: LISREL and PLS applied to consumer exit-voice theory. Journal of Marketing Research, 440-452. Freeman, R.E., 1984. Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. Pitman, Boston, MA. Gold, S., Seuring, S., Beske, P., 2010. Sustainable supply chain management and interorganizational resources: a literature review. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management 17, 230-245. Goodland, R., 1995. The concept of environmental sustainability. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 26, 1-24. GRI, 2011. Sustainability reporting guidelines. Haider, M.Z., 2007. Competitiveness of the Bangladesh Ready-made Garment Industry in Major International Markets. Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Review 3, 3-27. Hair, J.F., Ringle, C.M., Sarstedt, M., 2011. PLS-SEM: Indeed a silver bullet. The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 19, 139-152. Henseler, J., Ringle, C., Sinkovics, R., 2009. The use of partial least squares path modeling in international marketing. Advances in International Marketing (AIM) 20, 277-320. Hervani, A.A., Helms, M.M., Sarkis, J., 2005. Performance measurement for green supply chain management. Benchmarking: An International Journal 12, 330-353. Hutchins, M.J., Sutherland, J.W., 2008. An exploration of measures of social sustainability and their application to supply chain decisions. Journal of cleaner production 16, 1688-1698. IChemE, 2005. The sustainability metrics. Islam, M.A., Deegan, C., 2008. Motivations for an organisation within a developing country to report social responsibility information: Evidence from Bangladesh. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal 21, 850. Jarvis, C.B., MacKenzie, S.B., Podsakoff, P.M., 2003. A critical review of construct indicators and measurement model misspecification in marketing and consumer research. Journal of consumer research 30, 199-218. Jones, D., 2005. Dow Jones sustainability world indexes guide v. 7.0. Kolk, A., Pinkse, J., 2006. Stakeholder mismanagement and corporate social sesponsibility crises. European Management Journal 24, 59-72. Labuschagne, C., Brent, A.C., van Erck, R.P.G., 2005. Assessing the sustainability performances of industries. Journal of cleaner production 13, 373-385. Lindgreen, A., Swaen, V., Maon, F., 2009. Introduction: Corporate social responsibility implementation. Journal of Business Ethics 85, 251-256. Lovins, A., Lovins, L., Hawken, P., 1999. A road map for natural capitalism. Harvard Business Review 77, 145-158. Mentzer, J.T., DeWitt, W., Keebler, J.S., Min, S., Nix, N.W., Smith, C.D., Zacharia, Z.G., 2001. DEFINING SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT. Journal of Business Logistics 22, 1-25. Min, S., Mentzer, J.T., 2004. DEVELOPING AND MEASURING SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT CONCEPTS. Journal of Business Logistics 25, 63-99. Mulaik, S.A., James, L.R., Van Alstine, J., Bennett, N., Lind, S., Stilwell, C.D., 1989. Evaluation of goodness-of-fit indices for structural equation models. Psychological Bulletin 105, 430. Naeem, M.A., Welford, R., 2009. A comparative study of corporate social responsibility in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Management 16, 108-122. Nuruzzaman, A.H., 2009. Lead time management in the garment sector of Bangladesh: An avenues for survival and growth. European Journal of Scientific Research 33, 617. Oec, J.K.D.-. 2005. Integrating environmental and social standards into supply management—an action research project, Research methodologies in supply chain management. Springer, pp. 381-396. Pagell, M., WU, Z., 2009. Building a more complete theory of sustainable supply chain management using case studies of 10 exemplars. The journal of supply chain management 45, 37. Paul-Majumder, P., 2001. Occupational hazards and health consequences of the growth of garment industry in Bangladesh. Growth of Garment Industry in Bangladesh: Economic and Social Dimensions. . Polites, G.L., Roberts, N., Thatcher, J., 2011. Conceptualizing models using multidimensional constructs: a review and guidelines for their use. European Journal of Information Systems 21, 22-48. Preuss, L., 2001. In dirty chains? Purchasing and greener manufacturing. Journal of Business Ethics 34, 345–359. Ramos, T.B., Caeiro, S., 2010. Meta-performance evaluation of sustainability indicators. Ecological Indicators 10, 157-166. Seuring, S., Muller, M., 2008. From a literature review to a conceptual framework for sustainable supply chain management. Journal of cleaner production 16, 1699. Singh, R.K., Murty, H., Gupta, S., Dikshit, A., 2009. An overview of sustainability assessment methodologies. Ecological Indicators 9, 189-212. Straub, D., Boudreau, M.-C., Gefen, D., 2004. Validation guidelines for IS positivist research. Communications of the Association for Information Systems 13, 380-427. Tan, X., Liu, F., Cao, H., Zhang, H., 2002. A decision-making framework model of cutting fluid selection for green manufacturing and a case study. Journal of Materials Processing Technology 129, 467-470. Vasileiou, K., Morris, J., 2006. The sustainability of the supply chain for fresh potatoes in Britain. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal 11, 317 - 327. Wetzels, M., Odekerken-Schroder, G., Van Oppen, C., 2009. Using PLS path modeling for assessing hierarchical construct models: guidelines and empirical illustration. MIS Quarterly 33, 177-195. Zhu, Q., Sarkis, J., Lai, K.-h., 2008. Confirmation of a measurement model for green supply chain management practices implementation. International journal of production economics 111, 261-273.