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Green supply chain management and the circular economy: Reviewing theory for advancement of both fields

Junjun Liu (Department of Operations Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Yunting Feng (Department of Operations Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Qinghua Zhu (Department of Operations Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Joseph Sarkis (Foisie School of Business, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 10 August 2018

Issue publication date: 12 September 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Green supply chain management (GSCM) and the circular economy (CE) overlap but also differ. The purpose of this paper is to clarify linkages between these two concepts. It identifies mutual theory applications used to study GSCM and CE.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review is conducted to identify theories from GSCM and CE studies. A critical analysis explores the theories that can provide mutual applications between GSCM and CE fields. Propositions are developed.

Findings

In all, 12 theories are applied in both GSCM and CE studies. Several theories are only applied in GSCM studies, but can help to advance CE study. These theories include complexity, transaction cost economics, agency, and information theories. Each of the eight theories only applied to CE can potentially advance GSCM study.

Research limitations/implications

The findings contribute to further theory development for both GSCM and CE study. A methodological review can advance theoretical development and cross-pollination in both fields.

Originality/value

This work is the first study to explicitly explore linkages of GSCM and CE from a theoretical perspective.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (71632007, 71690241 and 71472021), Program of Shanghai Academic/Technology Research Leader (18XD1402100) and Key Project of Shanghai Soft Science Research Program (18692101400).

Citation

Liu, J., Feng, Y., Zhu, Q. and Sarkis, J. (2018), "Green supply chain management and the circular economy: Reviewing theory for advancement of both fields", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 48 No. 8, pp. 794-817. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-01-2017-0049

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited