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Procurement marketing and environmentalism: the case of German retailers and the personal care products industry


Brennan, Majella;

Institution: Dublin City University. DCU Business School
Subject Keywords: Commerce; Ecology (Economic aspects); Retail trade Germany; Environmental marketing; "Greening of business";

There has been a significant amount of research in the area of environmental marketing and the greening of business since 1970. Much of this research has focused on the German market. Typically it is of a general nature. It offers little specific advice to any company seeking to become a listed supplier to any major German multiple. This thesis rectifies the situation. It establishes the exact nature of the environmental demands placed by major German retail chains on suppliers.

The approach adopted comprises both secondary and primary research. The secondary research is a comprehensive review of legislation, consumers, pressure groups, the media and retailer power in Germany. Literature suggests that suppliers may be considerably affected by the impact which German legislation has on the purchasing policy of German retailers and distributors. Similarly, the rise in consumer environmentalism in Germany means that German retailers may subsequently push the demand for higher environmental quality on to suppliers. The activities of pressure groups and the media in Germany may also be making the multiples more aware of the increasing importance of considering environmental quality as a purchasing criterion in the supply chain. The high concentration of German retailers and their subsequent dominance in the supply chain allows them to demand a high level of environmental quality from suppliers.

The primary research involved carrying out in-depth interviews with 19 German retailers. This included 13 o f the top 25 retailers in Germany. All 19 retailers together accounted for over 82 per cent of the German retail market. The driving force behind purchasing policy was investigated in the interviews. It was confirmed that legislation, consumers, pressure groups and the media are powerful influencing factors. The interviews revealed that the larger retailers are pursuing a purchasing policy which incorporates a consideration and evaluation of a number of environmental criteria. There are difficulties in implementing this type of purchasing policy. It is predicted that the pursuance of high environmental quality by German retailers will continue and develop in the future.

While this thesis is fundamentally a theoretical study, it will be of practical use to companies supplying retailers in the German market. Although this research focuses on the personal care products industry, the findings are applicable to other industries distributing to retailers in Germany.



Suggested citation:

Brennan, Majella; . () Procurement marketing and environmentalism: the case of German retailers and the personal care products industry [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 18th June 2019].


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