There has been added pressure on firms to implement initiatives for sustainable supply chain management. The purpose
of this study was to analyse South African 3PL firms’ approaches to sustainable SCM and to determine if these
approaches are more internally or externally influenced.
A qualitative research approach was used to explore this by means of semi-structured face-to-face interviews with ten
participants from nine South African 3PL firms. The firms were mapped onto a typology of approaches to sustainable
supply chain management to determine if their sustainability initiatives were mostly influenced internally or externally,
and how this is likely to change in the near future.
The findings showed that external factors were more influential on South African 3PL firms, with this influence set to
increase in the next three to five years. The growing impact of government, technology, and collaboration with customers
and suppliers, as well as the importance of management to control these influencers were highlighted in the study. The
study expands research on supply chain sustainability in an emerging and developing country context as little research is
available on the topic.