Corporate decision-makers are increasingly focusing on sustainability not just as a means of reducing the carbon footprint of their organizations, but as an astute business approach proven to be associated with increased profits, reduced costs and market expansion. Business performance is no longer evaluated just in financial terms, but based on the “triple bottom line” comprising economic, environmental and social performance (Carter & Easton, 2011).
For corporate sustainability initiatives to be successful there is a need to secure the involvement and collaboration of all supply chain participants; however, research has revealed evidence of a substantial gap between strategic sustainability goals and practice in many organizations, with the weakest spots often found in the supply chain. Practicing sustainable supply chain management is becoming increasingly challenging and complex now that many firms are using multiple levels of suppliers or outsourcing many of their business processes. Drawing on a review of recent literature, we discuss in this article the developments and drivers of change in sustainable supply chain management, the potential business benefits of achieving success in this area, and the documented gaps in sustainable supply chain management practice.