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Applying the triple bottom line in sustainable supplier selection: A meta-review of the state-of-the-art

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperReviewResearchpeer-review



  • Kamran Rashidi, University of Gothenburg
  • ,
  • Abdollah Noorizadeh, Aalto University
  • ,
  • Devika Kannan, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Kevin Cullinane, University of Gothenburg

This study conducts a systematic meta-literature review in the field of sustainable supplier selection. The number of published papers within the domain of sustainable supplier selection has grown considerably in recent years. Up until now, there has been no attempt quantitatively analyze the content of these published papers using bibliometric and network analysis software. Thus, this paper utilizes Gephi and Bibexcel software to conduct a quantitative review. In total, 4,882 documents were reviewed based on 336 combinations searched in Scopus and the Web of Science from 1990 to March 2018. Bibliometric, co-word and co-citation analysis are applied to quantitatively extract and analyze the content of these papers. The analysis reveals that: 1) There is a gap between industry and academia that needs to be bridged; 2) More studies in the area of global sourcing are needed; 3) Comparing the outcomes of different supplier evaluation methods is required; 4) There has been no major shift or change in the traditional supplier selection practices; 5) The ratio of the applied social criteria is relatively low compared to the total number of criteria; 6) The innovation capability of suppliers needs to be further considered; 7) More studies of sustainable supplier selection are needed in the e-procurement arena, as well as service-based industries such as healthcare, and 8) Evaluating the sustainability of suppliers in a dynamic environment needs to be further studied. The conclusion also reveals that only a limited number of journals exhibit a specific focus on the sustainable supplier selection arena; analytical and mathematical-based methods are the most applied supplier selection tools and there is a misalignment between the applied criteria in the triple bottom line.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122001
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Bibexcel, Gephi, Literature review, Meta-review, Sustainable supplier selection, Triple bottom line

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