Sustainability in Supply Chains

Session Chair: Prof. Sherwat Elwan Ibrahim, American University in Cairo

Paper 1: Blockchain for Social Good in Sustainable Cocoa Supply Chain: Empirical Evidence from Smallholder Farmers and Local Purchasing Agents of licensed Cocoa Buying Companies.

Matthew Quayson

  • School of Management and Economics, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
  • Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Ho Technical University, Ho, Ghana.


The livelihood of smallholder farmers in emerging economies’ cocoa supply chain is substandard because of fraud, exploitation, corruption, deceit, child labor, and financial exclusion, usually perpetrated by influential actors. This situation creates a social sustainability problem that needs urgent attention. Digital technologies such as blockchain show promise toward fostering social sustainability deep into the supply chain. Yet, there are scant research cases on blockchain adoption behavior for social good, especially for smallholder farmers in the sustainable cocoa supply chain in emerging economies. This study adapts the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) as a foundational framework to analyze the effect of blockchain technology adoption on the social good of smallholder farmers in the cocoa supply chain from the perspectives of the smallholder farmers and the local cocoa purchasing agents. Data was collected in the highest cocoa-producing districts in Ghana. A total of 750 valid responses were collected, consisting of 400 responses from smallholder farmers and 350 from purchasing agents. The research model developed was assessed by structural equation modeling (SEM). The results revealed distinct adoption behaviors between smallholder farmers and local purchasing agents. However, the study found that intention to use blockchain technology predicts social good from the perspectives of both smallholder farmers and local purchasing agents. Interestingly, technology trust does not moderate the positive relationship between performance expectancy and intention to use blockchain technology from the perspectives of smallholder farmers and local cocoa purchasing agents. The findings offer a valuable contribution and a sign of progress for the literature on blockchain adoption, sustainable supply chain, and social good.

Paper 2: Exploring the Circular Economy for Sustainable Supply Chain in Ghana: Drivers and Barriers to Implementation 

Vivian Osei

  • School of Management and Economics, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
  • Department of Management Science, Business School, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA),   


Circular economy has earned global recognition as the solution to drive long-term sustainability and thus several barriers and drivers have been identified to facilitate successful CE implementation. Nonetheless, the mining sector which is associated with significantly high environmental effects is relatively unexplored and the specific factors identified might not apply. At the same time, application in the construction industry is still in its infancy. Meanwhile, research into emerging African economies is scanty within the evolving CE literature. Interestingly, the barriers and drivers of CE application are different for different countries, industries, and individual firms, leading to wide-scale variations in priorities and focus elements in policy documents and approaches for operationalising the concept. Drawing upon the multi-faceted TOE framework, this study seeks to explore the relevant barriers and drivers of CE for sustainable supply chain in Ghana. Qualitative methods involving the use of interviews will be used to collect data from Ghanaian construction and mining firms. A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis will be conducted to compare pertinent barriers and drivers of CE within the mining and construction industries to facilitate cognizance of the key variations and similarities and advance understanding of how these sectors fit together in value creation. Moreover, by leveraging the TOE framework, the results will enable identification of wide-scale categories of factors so that innovative business models that might enable retention of high material residual values can be developed in the implementation process, considering that mining is the starting point of construction and other product value chains.

Paper 3: Green Supply Chains and the Circular Economy Aspirations

Professor Joseph Sarkis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, U.S.


The concepts of the green supply chain and the circular economy intersect at many points.  They offer potential solutions for a sustainable world—their aspiration.  Can and will the aspiration be met? What are curves and roadblocks that might exist on the never-ending road to what may be an unachievable goal? Let’s discuss.