Supply chain sustainability: learning from the COVID-19 pandemic

Joseph Sarkis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

409 Citations (Scopus)


This paper, a pathway, aims to provide research guidance for investigating sustainability in supply chains in a post-COVID-19 environment.
Published literature, personal research experience, insights from virtual open forums and practitioner interviews inform this study.
COVID-19 pandemic events and responses are unprecedented to modern operations and supply chains. Scholars and practitioners seek to make sense of how this event will make us revisit basic scholarly notions and ontology. Sustainability implications exist. Short-term environmental sustainability gains occur, while long-term effects are still uncertain and require research. Sustainability and resilience are complements and jointly require investigation.
Research limitations/implications
The COVID-19 crisis is emerging and evolving. It is not clear whether short-term changes and responses will result in a new “normal.” Adjustment to current theories or new theoretical developments may be necessary. This pathway article only starts the conservation – many additional sustainability issues do arise and cannot be covered in one essay.
Practical implications
Organizations have faced a major shock during this crisis. Environmental sustainability practices can help organizations manage in this and future competitive contexts.
Social implications
Broad economic, operational, social and ecological-environmental sustainability implications are included – although the focus is on environmental sustainability. Emergent organizational, consumer, policy and supply chain behaviors are identified.
The authors take an operations and supply chain environmental sustainability perspective to COVID-19 pandemic implications; with sustainable representing the triple bottom-line dimensions of environmental, social and economic sustainability; with a special focus on environmental sustainability. Substantial open questions for investigation are identified. This paper sets the stage for research requiring rethinking of some previous tenets and ontologies.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)63-73
Publication statusPublished - 04.12.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • sustainability
  • environmental management
  • resilience
  • Supply chain management
  • COVID-19

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


Dive into the research topics of 'Supply chain sustainability: learning from the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this