Digital for Sustainable Supply Chain Management

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) platforms are software solutions that help organizations manage and improve the environmental and social sustainability of their supply chains. These platforms provide tools for tracking and tracing materials, assessing supplier sustainability performance, managing risks, and collaborating with stakeholders to achieve sustainability goals.

Impact on climate action

Sustainable Supply Chain Management Platforms under Digital for Decarbonization streamline operations, reduce waste, and optimize resource use. By promoting transparency and accountability across supply chains, these platforms minimize carbon emissions, mitigate environmental impact, and accelerate the transition to sustainable, low-carbon economies, fostering climate resilience and combating climate change.


  • Data Collection and Integration: SSCM platforms collect data from various sources, including suppliers, logistics providers, and internal systems, to provide a comprehensive view of the supply chain.
  • Sustainability Metrics and Reporting: Platforms track and report on key sustainability metrics, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste generation, and labor practices.
  • Supplier Management: Platforms enable businesses to assess and manage the sustainability performance of their suppliers, including conducting audits, setting sustainability targets, and collaborating on improvement initiatives.
  • Risk Management: SSCM platforms help businesses identify and mitigate sustainability risks, such as supply chain disruptions, environmental compliance issues, and reputational damage.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Platforms facilitate communication and collaboration between different stakeholders in the supply chain, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
  • Blockchain Technology: Blockchain can be used to create secure and transparent supply chains, enabling traceability of materials and products and ensuring data integrity.
  • AI and Machine Learning: AI and ML algorithms can be used to analyze supply chain data, identify patterns and trends, and predict potential risks and opportunities.

TRL : 7-8

Prominent Innovation themes

  • AI-Powered Sustainability Analytics: AI and machine learning are being used to analyze supply chain data and provide insights into sustainability performance, identify areas for improvement, and predict potential risks.
  • Blockchain for Supply Chain Traceability: Blockchain technology is being used to create transparent and secure supply chains, allowing companies to track the origin and movement of materials and products, and ensure ethical sourcing and production practices.
  • Circular Economy Solutions: SSCM platforms are incorporating circular economy principles, such as closed-loop manufacturing and waste-to-value solutions, to help businesses reduce waste and resource consumption.
  • Scope 3 Emissions Tracking: Platforms are expanding their capabilities to track Scope 3 emissions, which are indirect emissions from a company’s value chain, such as those from suppliers and customers.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Sustainability Metrics and Performance Tracking
  • Supplier Sustainability Assessment and Management
  • Risk Identification and Mitigation in Supply Chains
  • Transparent and Secure Blockchain Solutions
  • Circular Economy Integration in Supply Chains
  • Scope 3 Emissions Monitoring and Reduction
  • AI-Powered Sustainability Insights
  • Sustainable Materials Traceability with Blockchain
  • Collaboration Tools for Supply Chain Sustainability
  • Closed-loop Manufacturing Solutions
  • Ethical Sourcing and Production Practices
  • Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
  • Sustainable Logistics and Transportation Management
  • Green Packaging and Waste Reduction Strategies
  • Renewable Energy Integration in Supply Chains
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Communication
  • Sustainable Procurement Practices
  • Responsible Consumption and Production Initiatives
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Farming Practices
  • Climate Resilience and Adaptation in Supply Chains

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. EcoVadis:
    • Technology Enhancement: EcoVadis provides a cloud-based platform for sustainable supply chain management. Their platform utilizes data analytics, supplier assessments, and performance monitoring tools to evaluate the environmental, social, and ethical practices of suppliers. EcoVadis offers a holistic approach to supply chain sustainability, enabling companies to identify risks, drive improvements, and collaborate with suppliers to achieve sustainability goals.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: EcoVadis stands out for its comprehensive sustainability rating system and its focus on transparency and collaboration in supply chain management. Their platform allows companies to assess and benchmark supplier performance across key sustainability indicators, facilitating informed decision-making and driving continuous improvement throughout the supply chain.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: EcoVadis serves companies across various industries seeking to enhance supply chain sustainability and mitigate risks related to environmental, social, and ethical issues. Their platform is utilized by multinational corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and procurement professionals to ensure responsible sourcing practices and meet stakeholder expectations.
  2. SupplyShift:
    • Technology Enhancement: SupplyShift offers a cloud-based supply chain sustainability platform that enables companies to collect, analyze, and act on supply chain data. Their platform provides tools for supplier assessments, risk identification, and performance tracking, allowing organizations to monitor sustainability metrics, track progress, and engage suppliers in sustainability initiatives. SupplyShift emphasizes transparency, collaboration, and data-driven decision-making in supply chain management.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: SupplyShift stands out for its customizable and scalable approach to supply chain sustainability management. Their platform is designed to accommodate the unique needs and requirements of different industries and supply chains, providing flexibility and adaptability for diverse stakeholders. SupplyShift also offers advanced analytics and reporting capabilities to help companies derive insights and drive continuous improvement in sustainability performance.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: SupplyShift serves a wide range of industries, including consumer goods, retail, manufacturing, and technology, where supply chain sustainability is a priority. Their platform is used by sustainability professionals, procurement teams, and supply chain managers to assess supplier sustainability performance, mitigate risks, and drive positive social and environmental impacts throughout the supply chain.
  3. Circulor:
    • Technology Enhancement: Circulor specializes in traceability and transparency solutions for responsible supply chains, particularly in industries such as automotive, electronics, and natural resources. Their platform utilizes blockchain technology, digital twin simulations, and supply chain analytics to track and verify the origin, authenticity, and sustainability of raw materials and products throughout the supply chain. Circulor focuses on ensuring ethical sourcing, reducing environmental impact, and supporting circular economy principles.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Circulor stands out for its innovative use of blockchain technology and digital twin simulations to provide end-to-end traceability and transparency in complex supply chains. Their platform enables companies to validate and communicate sustainability claims, enhance brand reputation, and meet regulatory requirements related to responsible sourcing and environmental stewardship.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Circulor serves companies operating in industries where supply chain transparency and responsible sourcing are critical, such as automotive, aerospace, electronics, and natural resources. Their platform is used by manufacturers, OEMs, and suppliers to demonstrate compliance with sustainability standards, address consumer demands for ethical products, and create value through sustainable supply chain management.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is at the forefront of research on Sustainable Supply Chain Management Platforms, focusing on developing advanced digital tools, frameworks, and methodologies to enhance the environmental and social sustainability of global supply chains.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves leveraging big data analytics, blockchain technology, and artificial intelligence to map supply chain networks, assess sustainability risks, and identify opportunities for improvement. They also develop decision support systems, sustainability metrics, and performance indicators to measure and monitor the environmental and social impacts of supply chain activities.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications across various industries, including manufacturing, retail, agriculture, and logistics. By integrating sustainability considerations into supply chain management processes, MIT’s research helps companies optimize resource use, minimize waste, and promote responsible sourcing practices, thereby reducing their carbon footprint and contributing to global decarbonization efforts.
  2. Stanford University:
    • Research Focus: Stanford University conducts pioneering research on Sustainable Supply Chain Management Platforms, leveraging its expertise in data science, operations research, and sustainability science to develop innovative solutions for enhancing supply chain transparency, resilience, and sustainability.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of digital platforms, risk assessment tools, and collaboration frameworks to facilitate information sharing, stakeholder engagement, and collective action across supply chain networks. They also explore the integration of circular economy principles, life cycle assessment methods, and carbon accounting techniques to support sustainable decision-making and value chain optimization.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in global supply chain management, corporate sustainability reporting, and responsible sourcing initiatives. By fostering collaboration and transparency in supply chains, Stanford’s research empowers businesses to mitigate environmental and social risks, enhance brand reputation, and drive positive social and environmental impacts.
  3. University of Cambridge:
    • Research Focus: The University of Cambridge is engaged in innovative research on Sustainable Supply Chain Management Platforms, drawing on its interdisciplinary expertise in engineering, business, and policy to develop scalable and adaptable solutions for promoting sustainability across supply chains.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves developing digital platforms, decision support tools, and optimization algorithms to facilitate supply chain traceability, risk assessment, and performance benchmarking. They also explore the role of regulations, standards, and governance mechanisms in driving sustainability improvements and fostering collaboration among stakeholders.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in diverse sectors, including fashion, electronics, and food and beverage. By providing insights into supply chain vulnerabilities and opportunities, University of Cambridge’s research enables companies to make informed decisions, enhance supply chain resilience, and achieve their sustainability goals, ultimately contributing to the transition to a low-carbon and circular economy.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Sustainable supply chain management platforms are being adopted by businesses of all sizes across various industries. Companies are using these platforms to comply with regulations, meet sustainability goals, and demonstrate their commitment to environmental and social responsibility.