Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to systematically review the academic literature on sustainability performance measurement for sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) published over the past 20 years. The development and current state of instruments, concepts and systems to measure and manage sustainability performance are examined and research gaps are identified. Design/methodology/approach – A systematic literature review is conducted spanning two decades of publications in peer-reviewed academic journals. The publications are analyzed with regard to frequency and bibliometrical metrics and research content. Findings – The research examines the development of the field over 20 years, which has witnessed a steep rise in related publications only for the past five years, indicating a late interest in the area compared to other sustainability topics. Social performance measures entered the discussion particularly late, whereas economic and environmental measurement almost exclusively dominated the field for the first few years. Research limitations/implications – The authors identify research gaps and discuss future directions for research. The analysis shows how the research area develops from a topic dealt with by a small group of interested researchers into a broader research field acknowledged in the scientific community. Practical implications – Findings underline the importance of measuring performance for sustainability management of supply chains. The review identifies what measurement and management tools are discussed in the literature over time. Originality/value – This is the first literature review on sustainability performance measurement for SSCM summarizing the development over the time span of 20 years.

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