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Sustainable Supply Chain and Innovation: A Review of the Recent Literature

Letizia Tebaldi (), Barbara Bigliardi () and Eleonora Bottani ()
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Letizia Tebaldi: Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, viale delle Scienze 181/A, 43124 Parma, Italy
Barbara Bigliardi: Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, viale delle Scienze 181/A, 43124 Parma, Italy
Eleonora Bottani: Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, viale delle Scienze 181/A, 43124 Parma, Italy

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 11, 1-29

Abstract: Increasingly, the effects of supply chains on environmental issues have been a focal point in discussions involving stakeholders, authorities, and customers. The aim of this paper is to inspect how innovation and sustainability are integrated into the wider context of the supply chains. To this end, a systematic literature review was carried out with a particular focus on papers published in recent years (2015–2017) so as to continue from a previous review on the sustainable supply chain innovation topic covering the time span of 1996–2014. The descriptive aspects of the published papers are firstly examined, i.e., the year of publication, journal, research methodology, industry field and country of the study, followed by the thematic ones, i.e., key themes of the innovation process, the types of innovation found, their newness, dimensions, and main theories that emerged. The analysis shows an upward trend of literature in numerical terms and a wider spread of sustainable innovations. Additionally, the research highlights further areas of research that are deserving of attention. These areas include analyses of specific industrial sectors which have been less covered in the published literature; research activities in the less developed countries; more attention on the social dimension of sustainability; a more general contribution from some nations that turned out to be less productive or even inactive on the sustainable supply chain innovation topic. Finally, a framework is developed which could constitute the basis for further developments and research on this issue.

Keywords: innovation; sustainability; supply chain; systematic literature review; framework (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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