Supply chains and business models are of general importance for any company. Due to these concepts’ overarching and interlinking nature, they are of particular importance for companies engaging in sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainability management. These companies look over the rim of their organizations’ boundaries—motivating research and practice dealing with sustainable supply chains (SSCs) and sustainable business models (SBMs). SSCs and SBMs come from different origins and use, but are highly interrelated, both in theory and practice, one building in part on the other often without recognition by scholars and practitioners in both fields. Therefore, this chapter compares the main characteristics of SSCs and SBMs as discussed in current academic literature and investigates the conceptual similarities, differences and areas where both can complement each other. Sustainability-oriented extensions of supply chain and business model concepts are meant to bring together multiple stakeholders, their needs and perceptions of value, going beyond suppliers and customers and including local communities (e.g. in the case of social business models) or post-consumer actors (e.g. in the case of closed-loop supply chains). Because of their shared potential to foster multi-stakeholder perspectives on value creation, particular analogies between supply chains and business models can be discerned. A framework is introduced comparing both concepts, highlighting their complementary and distinguishing characteristics. The resulting integrated perspective on value creating activities provides more clarity for those engaging in conceptual and practical SSC and SBM design and management.


Supply chain, supply chain management, business model, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, conceptual framework


Lüdeke-Freund, F.; Gold, S. & Bocken, N. (2016): Sustainable Business Model and Supply Chain Conceptions – Towards an Integrated Perspective, in: Bals, L. & Tate, W. (Eds.): Implementing Triple Bottom Line Sustainability into Global Supply Chains. Sheffield: Greenleaf, 337-363.

Chapter Summary | Research Gate | Book

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