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Special Issue "Designing and Implementing Innovative Business Models and Supply Chains: The Digitalization and Sustainability Imperative"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2021) | Viewed by 292

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Nizar Abdelkafi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32, 20133 Milano MI, Italy
Interests: Analysis and optimization of existing supply chains and business models; Supporting companies in developing and implementing innovative business models and designing corresponding supply chains; Key performance indicators for digital business models and supply chains ; Digitally-supported supply chains and Digital business models; Digital transformation of business models and supply chains
Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32, 20133 Milano MI, Italy
Interests: The interdependencies between supply chain and business models; Production planning; Supply chain design and management; Supply chain management-new product development coordination
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Business model innovation has attracted considerable attention from academics and practitioners. A business model denotes the way companies are making money as well as the logic according to which companies are doing business. Companies need to change their business models because of many drivers such as technological changes, new societal challenges, or new strategic choices, such the internationalization endeavors of companies. Business model changes oftentimes trigger supply chain modifications. Conversely, innovations in the supply chain can evolve to far-reaching updates of the business model that can result in completely new ways of value creation. Among the main drivers of business model and supply chain innovation that companies have increasingly had to deal with in recent years are digitalization and sustainability.

Companies are initiating internal projects to accommodate new digital technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things, etc. Incumbents may start with incremental digitalization of their business processes, as well as their supply chains, and then evolve to digital business models. The transition toward digitalized or completely digital business models goes through many phases, such as ideation, development, execution, and adaptation of the value creation and value capture. In general, it is a difficult journey, with which many companies, as well as supply chains, are currently struggling.

Sustainability is another driver for business model and supply chain innovation that companies have to address properly. The increasing societal call for dealing consciously with scarce resources and the protection of the environment puts a lot of pressure on managers to adapt their businesses. Companies are leveraging, e.g., sustainable supply chain management practices and environmental technologies, but also developing new business models, so-called business models for sustainability (BMfS), to achieve their sustainability objectives. Moreover, sustainable supply chain innovations can trigger new ways of value creation that can lead to massive changes in entire industries. The identification and appropriate execution of BMfS remains a challenge for companies that aim at achieving the triple bottom line.

Companies are obviously facing various challenges. In particular, they have no choice but to become increasingly digitalized and sustainable in the future. Companies that do not succeed in integrating digitalization and sustainability objectives into their supply chains and adapting their business models accordingly will have a hard time surviving in an environment where competition does not only come from incumbents, but also from (disruptive) start-ups.

This Special Issue calls for papers that address the challenge of designing and implementing digital and sustainable business models and supply chains. It looks for contributions that advance the state-of-the-art literature by addressing questions that are highly relevant to the practice of business model and supply chain design and implementation while applying and/or developing scientific theories. Papers that either focus on digitalization or sustainability are accepted for the review process, and papers that address both of them are especially welcome.     

Prof. Nizar Abdelkafi
Prof. Margherita Pero
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • New methods and tools for business model design and execution
  • Case studies on digital and sustinable business models and supply chains
  • Design and modeling of digital and sustainable supply chains
  • Supply chain innovation-driven business models
  • Value capture and value creation in the era of digitalization and sustainability
  • Digitally-supported and sustainable value propositions, and their implications for supply chains
  • Simulation studies on digital business models and BMfS
  • Challenges regarding the digitalization and sustainability in business models and supply chains
  • Synergy effects between digitalization and sustainability

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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