Blockchain as a sustainability-oriented innovation?: Opportunities for and resistance to Blockchain technology as a driver of sustainability in global food supply chains

N. Friedman, J. Ormiston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

60 Citations (Web of Science)


Blockchain technology has been forwarded as an innovation to address pressing sustainability challenges in global food supply chains. However, limited studies have critically examined the technology's role in advancing sustainability. Drawing on the literature on sustainability-oriented innovation and innovation resistance theory, we explore the potential of blockchain technology to contribute to sustainable transformations within food supply chains. We reflect on 18 expert interviews with various actors across global food supply chains to evaluate the opportunities for, and resistance to, Blockchain technology as a driver of sustainability. The findings reveal that Blockchain is used within food supply chains as both a tool for sustainability as well as a broader philosophical mindset for addressing sustainability challenges. We reveal the opportunities for Blockchain technology as a sustainability-oriented innovation that can ensure fairer supply chains, enhance food traceability, and drive environmental sustainability. We also unpack the resistance to Blockchain that hinder its potential as a sustainability-oriented innovation which include functional and psychological barriers alongside cooperative barriers and protection of the status quo. Our study contributes to the broader literature on sustainability-oriented innovation and innovation resistance theory.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121403
Number of pages17
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Blockchain
  • Food supply chains
  • Innovation resistance
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainability-oriented innovation

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