Sustainability and the digital supply chain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


The digital transformation of supply chains is happening at the same time as environmental and social impacts are leading to a radical rethink of the very nature of supply chains, how they are designed, and how they are managed. We examine the intersection of digital transformation and sustainability in the supply chain to consider whether they are complementary or in tension. We analyze sustainability in the digital supply chain by combining the supply chain SCOR model with the triple bottom line (TBL) sustainability perspective that incorporates economic, environmental and social dimensions. The complexities and trade-offs among these factors can lead to unintended consequences for sustainability initiatives. We consider two illustrative case studies: the emerging supply chains for electric passenger vehicles and the beef supply chain. Automotive and agricultural supply chains have to deal with substantial and complex sustainability issues. We identify how digital technologies may support sustainability initiatives or create unintended negative consequences. We draw insights from the two cases to discuss important issues and questions for both research and practice. Given the importance of sustainability, we highlight the need to consider carefully all the consequences of applying digital technologies in order to achieve intended benefits and reduce unintended harm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe digital supply chain
EditorsBart MacCarthy, Dmitry Ivanov
ISBN (Electronic)9780323916158
ISBN (Print)9780323916141
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022


  • Sustainability
  • Triple bottom line (TBL)
  • SCOR model
  • Agriculture
  • Automotive
  • electric vehicle (EV)
  • Unintended Consequences


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