A framework of sustainable supply chain management: Moving toward new theory

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2234 Scopus citations


Purpose - The authors perform a large-scale literature review and use conceptual theory building to introduce the concept of sustainability to the field of supply chain management and demonstrate the relationships among environmental, social, and economic performance within a supply chain management context. Design/methodology/approach - Conceptual theory building is used to develop a framework and propositions representing a middle theory of sustainable supply chain management (SSCM). Findings - The authors introduce the concept of sustainability - the integration of environmental, social, and economic criteria that allow an organization to achieve long-term economic viability - to the logistics literature, and position sustainability within the broader rubric of SSCM. They then present a framework of SSCM and develop research propositions based on resource dependence theory, transaction cost economics, population ecology, and the resource-based view of the firm. The authors conclude by discussing managerial implications and future research directions, including the further development and testing of the framework's propositions. Originality/value - This paper provides a comprehensive review of the sustainability literature, introduces sustainability to the field of supply chain management, and expands the conceptualization of sustainability beyond the triple bottom line to consider key supporting facets which are posited to be requisites to implementing SSCM practices. The use of conceptual theory building to develop theoretically based propositions moves the concept of sustainability from a relatively a-theoretical treatment toward new theory in supply chain management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-387
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Economic sustainability
  • Social responsibility
  • Supply chain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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