Title: The integrated business strategy of a Central American denim apparel manufacturer

Authors: Marsha A. Dickson; Jennifer McCord

Addresses: Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware, 211 Alison West, Newark, DE 19716, USA ' Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware, 211 Alison West, Newark, DE 19716, USA

Abstract: There is growing recognition that truly sustainable business practices, whether focused on environmental or social concerns, must be integrated within a company in order to be effective. The purpose of this case study research was to understand an apparel manufacturer's environmental and social responsibility practices in the context of a comprehensive and competitive business strategy. The research is innovative for its focus on manufacturing businesses rather than global brands and best practices in strategic CSR. A manufacturer of high-quality fashion denim apparel located in Central America was chosen for this study because of its reputation as both a thriving and socially responsible company. Field research revealed that one of the company's most valuable internal resources for competitiveness was its employees who were recruited, cultivated, and retained to maintain high skill and flexibility in meeting buyers' demands. Additionally, an open- and forward-minded executive team shaped innovative solutions that stem from an ingrained sense of responsibility and a deep understanding that sustainability is not an obligation but an investment.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; CSR; environmental responsibility; environmentally responsible firms; socially responsible firms; apparel industry; garment industry; clothing industry; apparel manufacturing; fashion denim; sustainability; competitiveness; competitive strategy; Central America; field research; case study; resource-based view; RBV; business strategy.

DOI: 10.1504/LAJMSD.2016.078614

Latin American Journal of Management for Sustainable Development, 2016 Vol.3 No.1, pp.66 - 79

Received: 02 Sep 2014
Accepted: 09 Apr 2015

Published online: 24 Aug 2016 *

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