Supply market uncertainty: exploring consequences and responses within sustainability transitions

Louise Knight*, Alexandra Pfeiffer, James Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


Often it is commercial, not technological, factors which hinder the adoption of potentially valuable innovations. In energy policy, much attention is given to analysing and incentivising consumer demand for renewable energy, but new technologies may also need new supply markets, to provide products and services to build, operate and maintain the innovative technology. This paper addresses the impact of supply constraints on the long-term viability of sustainability related innovations, using the case of bioenergy from organic waste. Uncertainties in the pricing and availability of feedstock (i.e. waste) may generate market deadlock and deter potential investors. We draw on prior research to conceptualise the problem, and identify what steps might be taken to address it. We propose a research agenda aimed at purchasing and supply scholars and centred on the need to understand better the interplay between market evolution and supply uncertainty and 'market shaping' - how stakeholders can legitimately influence supply market evolution - to support the adoption of sustainability related innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Issue number3
Early online date20 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


  • Bioenergy
  • Innovation adoption
  • Market bottleneck
  • Market evolution
  • Market failure
  • Market making
  • Market shaping
  • Supply risk


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