Healing or Harmful? A case study of healing crystals supply chain and how transparency can work as a tool for retailers when developing a sustainability strategy
The market for healing crystals has exploded in recent years due to increased consumer interest in the ‘healing’ qualities it may offer. The main problems within the healing crystal industry is the unsafe and unethical labor conditions among others, but the most critical part is the lack of transparency within the supply chains which leaves consumers and retailers unknowing of the actual social, environmental and economic impacts of crystals. Studies have shown that more light needs to be shed on the supply chain in order for governments, producers and consumers to gain understanding of the impacts caused. The purpose of this thesis was to analyze how a small-scale retailer of crystals can, with the help of a transparent supply chain, develop a sustainable business approach in order to contribute to a less harmful industry. Thus the research was conducted with a case study with a qualitative approach and analyzed with the theoretical framework consisting of the stakeholder theory, corporate sustainability model, triple bottom line, supply chain management among others. Furthermore, empirical background was summarized with articles of previous research and used to gain deeper understanding for the research area. From the empirical findings conclusions were drawn that there is a need for third-party verifications within the field, extensive monitoring regarding effects related to sustainability and a code of conduct for retailers in order to put more pressure on suppliers. This thesis contributes to how small-scale retailers can work with sustainability throughout the supply chain by creating the right tools to influence the three pillars of sustainability.