Distributed Ledger Technology in Sustainable Supply-Chain Networks and Circular Economy

  • Background

    Data generated along the product life cycle serves as basis for many decisions. Both the upstream areas of production and distribution as well as the downstream areas of collection, reuse, and recycling could benefit from this information.  An information exchange forms the basis for effectively designing and managing a resource-efficient circular economy. Flows of materials and goods must be analyzed over the entire product life cycle so that it can be controlled from each phase.

    Since this is not (or partially) the case in practice, the approach of a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platform offers a novel possibility to improve the data basis for all actors in value-added and recycling management networks. Sharing access to information would significantly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of those systems. This information is indispensable in the course of societal expectations of climate protection and in the course of a sustainable industrial society with efficient, environmentally compatible flows of energy and materials.

    The goal of this thesis is to conduct a systematic literature review to create an overview of the state of research on the use of DLT in sustainable supply-chain networks and circular economy. Further, findings should be evaluated; thereby, possible evaluations include but are not limited to the aspects of risks, chances, or the creation of guidelines for the use of DLT in the given context.



    • Conduct a systematic literature review
    • Create an overview and motivate the use of DLT in sustainable supply-chain networks and circular economy
    • Evaluate findings in terms of risks, chances, or guidelines



    [1] Yiu, N. C. (2021). Toward Blockchain-Enabled Supply Chain Anti-Counterfeiting and Traceability. arXiv preprint arXiv:2102.00459.

    [2] Strehle, E., & Maurer, M. (2021). The DibiChain protocol: Privacy-preserving discovery and exchange of supply chain information. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.29565.90082

    [3] Adams, R., Kewell, B., & Parry, G. (2018). Blockchain for good? Digital ledger technology and sustainable development goals. In Handbook of sustainability and social science research (pp. 127-140). Springer, Cham.

    [4] Willrich, S., Melcher, F., Straub, T., & Weinhardt, C. (2019). Towards More Sustainability: A Literature Review Where Bioeconomy Meets Blockchain. In ICETE (1) (pp. 113-120).

    [5] Leng, J., Ruan, G., Jiang, P., Xu, K., Liu, Q., Zhou, X., & Liu, C. (2020). Blockchain-empowered sustainable manufacturing and product lifecycle management in industry 4.0: A survey. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 132, 110112.