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

A. Matopoulos, A.C. Barros, J.G.A.J. van der Vorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


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 resources. 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 imitations/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. Keywords Systematic literature review, Logistics and supply chain design decisions, Natural resource-based view, Resource scarcity, Resource-efficiency, Sustainable supply chains
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-236
JournalSupply Chain Management : an International Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • greenhouse-gas emissions
  • life-cycle assessment
  • food-production systems
  • carbon footprint
  • land-use
  • environmental assessment
  • conceptual-framework
  • manufacturing firms
  • energy efficiency
  • complexity theory

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