Purpose- The aim of this paper is to review and reflect on the sustainability agendas and achievements reported by Europe's leading food and drinks wholesalers.
Design/Methodology/Approach- The paper begins with a short introduction to corporate sustainability, sustainability reporting and food and drinks wholesaling within Europe and the empirical material for the paper is drawn from reports and information posted on the leading food and drinks wholesalers' corporate websites.
Findings- There are marked variations in the extent to which Europe's leading food and drinks wholesalers reported and provided information on their sustainability agendas and achievements. These agendas and achievements embraced a wide range of environmental, social and economic issues but the reporting process had a number of weaknesses that undermine its transparency and credibility. The authors also argue that the leading food and drinks wholesalers' definitions of, and commitments to, sustainability are principally driven by business imperatives as by any fundamental concern to maintain the viability and integrity of natural and social capital. More critically the authors argue that this approach is couched within existing business models centred on continuing growth and consumption
Limitations- The paper is a preliminary review of the sustainability agendas and achievements publicly reported by Europe's leading food and drinks wholesalers.
Originality- The role of Europe's wholesale sector in addressing sustainability has received scant attention in the academic literature and this paper will interest academics and students in business management and marketing and employees and executives working in the distribution sector of the economy.