Three pillars of sustainability in the wake of COVID-19: A systematic review and future research agenda for sustainable development

Published on May 15, 2021in Journal of Cleaner Production9.297
· DOI :10.1016/J.JCLEPRO.2021.126660
Meisam Ranjbari4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Henan Agricultural University),
Zahra Shams Esfandabadi5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Polytechnic University of Turin)
+ 6 AuthorsMeisam Tabatabaei60
Estimated H-index: 60
(Henan Agricultural University)
Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic has immensely impacted the economic, social, and environmental pillars of sustainability in human lives. Due to the scholars' increasing interest in responding to the urgent call for action against the pandemic, the literature of sustainability research considering the COVID-19 consequences is very fragmented. Therefore, a comprehensive review of the COVID-19 implications for sustainability practices is still lacking. This research aims to analyze the effects of COVID-19 on the triple bottom line (TBL) of sustainability to support the future sustainable development agenda. To achieve that, the following research questions are addressed by conducting a systematic literature review: (i) what is the current status of research on the TBL of sustainability considering COVID-19 implications?, (ii) how does COVID-19 affect the TBL of sustainability?, and (iii) what are the potential research gaps and future research avenues for sustainable development post COVID-19? The results manifest the major implications of the COVID-19 outbreak for the triple sustainability pillars and the sustainable development agenda from the economic, social, and environmental points of view. The key findings provide inclusive insights for governments, authorities, practitioners, and policy-makers to alleviate the pandemic's negative impacts on sustainable development and to realize the sustainability transition opportunities post COVID-19. Finally, five research directions for sustainable development corresponding to the United Nations` sustainable development goals (SDGs) post COVID-19 are provided, as follows: (1) sustainability action plan considering COVID-19 implications: refining sustainability goals and targets and developing measurement framework; (2) making the most of sustainability transition opportunities in the wake of COVID-19: focus on SDG 12 and SDG 9; (3) innovative solutions for economic resilience towards sustainability post COVID-19: focus on SDG 1, SDG 8, and SDG 17; (4) in-depth analysis of the COVID-19 long-term effects on social sustainability: focus on SDG 4, SDG 5, and SDG 10; and (5) expanding quantitative research to harmonize the COVID-19-related sustainability research.
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