Overcoming barriers to supply chain decarbonization: Case studies of first movers

Abraham Zhang, Muhammad Faizan Alvi, Yu Gong, Jason X. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Excess greenhouse gas emissions from human and industrial activities are believed to be the key cause of catastrophic climate change. According to the United Nations, carbon neutrality by 2050 is the world’s most urgent mission. Many countries recently made commitments to this mission; however, at a supply chain level, little is known about barriers to carbon neutrality, circumventing strategies, and their performance implications. This pioneering study addresses the knowledge gap by case studies of six first movers. We find four common barriers: “major upfront investment costs,” “lack of awareness,” “lack of expertise,” and “resistant mindset.” Small and medium-sized enterprises face additional barriers relating to “lack of support from supply chain partners” and “uncertainty in return on investment.” We find that most first movers achieved positive economic performance associated with their carbon neutrality initiatives. Based on the findings and the literature, we develop a framework and discuss practical implications for governments and businesses to jointly overcome barriers to supply chain decarbonization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106536
Number of pages12
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date15 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


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