Resource-efficient supply chains: a research framework, literature review and research agenda

Aristides Matopoulos*, Ana Cristina Barros, J.G.A.J. van der Vorst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The study aims to define a research agenda for creating resource-efficient supply chains (RESCs) by identifying and analysing their key
characteristics as well as future research opportunities.
Design/methodology/approach – We follow a systematic review method to analyse the literature and to understand RESC, taking a substantive
theory approach. Our approach is grounded in a specific domain, the agri-food sector, because it is an intensive user of an extensive range of
Findings – The review shows that works of literature has looked at the use of resources primarily from the environmental impact perspective. There
is a need to explore whether or not and how logistics/supply chain decisions will affect the overall configuration of future food supply chains in an
era of resource scarcity and depletion and what the trade-offs will be.
Research limitations/implications – The paper proposes an agenda for future research in the area of RESC. The framework proposed along with
the key characteristics identified for RESC can be applied to other sectors.
Practical implications – Our research should facilitate further understanding of the implications and trade-offs of supply chain decisions taken on
the use of resources by supply chain managers.
Originality/value – The paper explores the interaction between supply chains and natural resources and defines the key characteristics of RESC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-236
Number of pages19
JournalSupply Chain Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

© Aristides Matopoulos, Ana Barros, J.G.A.J. (Jack) van der Vorst. Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at

Funding: European Union (European Social Fund [ESF]) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National; Project “NORTE-07-0124-FEDER-000057”, financed by the North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (ON.2 – O Novo Norte) Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)


  • Resource-Efficient Supply Chains, Supply Chain Configuration, Sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment, Natural Resource Based View, Resource Dependency Theory, Agri-Food Industry, Systematic Literature Review, Content Analysis


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