The field of sustainable supply chain management has seen a rapid expansion of corporate activities as well as academic research over the last few years. This paper points to an obvious shortcoming in the way the topic is being addressed in almost all contributions: major, well known, product related goods and services are almost exclusively targeted, leading to definitions, frameworks and empirical research that fail to include more minor items and related purchasing processes. This has various reasons, but is an inadequate approach when overall impacts along an entire supply chain are considered and the basic tenets of sustainability respected. The paper discusses the reasons for such shortcomings and suggests some measures by which they could be overcome, thereby also stimulating future research. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.