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A planetary boundaries perspective on the sustainability: resilience relationship in the Kenyan tea supply chain

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journal contribution
posted on 09.06.2021, 10:53 authored by George Mutugu Mwangi, Stella Despoudi, Oscar Rodriguez Espindola, Konstantina Spanaki, Thanos Papadopoulos
The purpose of this paper is to examine whether Agricultural Supply Chains (ASC) can be simultaneously sustainable and resilient to ecological disruptions, using the Planetary Boundaries theory. The nine different Planetary Boundaries i.e. climatic change, biodiversity loss, biogeochemical, ocean acidification, land use, freshwater availability, stratosphere ozone depletion, atmospheric aerosols and chemical pollution are examined in relation to ASC sustainability and resilience. Kenya’s tea upstream supply chain sustainability and resilience from the ecological point of view is questioned. This study adopts a multi-case study analysis approach of nine producer organisations from Kenya’s tea supply chain. The data from the in-depth semi-structured interviews and a focus group discussion are analysed using thematic analysis. The Kenyan tea supply chain producers are not aware of all the nine planetary boundaries, although these impact on their resilience practices. They are engaged in pursuing both sustainability and resilience practices. They implement mainly environmental practices in relation to sustainability, while only a few of them are implementing resilience practices. The sustainability and resilience concepts were found to be interrelated, but resilience does not improve at the same pace as sustainability. It is suggested that the relationship between sustainability and resilience is non-linear. Limitations and future research avenues are also provided.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business

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Annals of Operations Research


Springer (part of Springer Nature)


VoR (Version of Record)

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© The Authors

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at:

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Dr Konstantina Spanaki. Deposit date: 27 April 2021