You are here:
Designing Sustainable Supply Chains (Journal Article)
Young, D. M., T. Hawkins, W. Ingwersen, S. Lee, G. Ruiz-Mercado, D. Sengupta, AND R. L. Smith. Designing Sustainable Supply Chains (Journal Article). Chemical Engineering Transactions. AIDIC, Italian Association of Chemical Engineering, Milano, Italy, 29:253-258, (2012).
This article provides an overview of recent EPA ORD research on sustainable supply chain design. Examples of biofuel supply chain analysis are used to demonstrate the use of metrics to assess supply chain sustainability.
The Office of Research and Development within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently put forth a new vision for environmental protection that states that sustainability is our “True North”. In support of this new vision, an effort to design supply chains to be as sustainable as possible has been undertaken. This effort has two focus areas: consumer products and the transportation sector (biofuels). Starting with more than one hundred environmental metrics (e.g., energy, economic, and process) and sustainability metrics (e.g., ecological footprint, emergy, and exergy), a subset of the most relevant metrics have been identified and is currently being employed to evaluate the sustainability of the supply chains of multiple facilities of similar consumer products. From this evaluation, a set of rules or guidelines will be established that can be used to design a new supply chain or suggest improvements to current supply chains. Concurrently, an effort focusing on evaluating supply chains in the transportation sector is also contributing to the development of these design rules and guidelines. An approach for evaluating the sustainability of a supply chain and for designing them to be as sustainable as possible has been described. The premilinary results highlight the tradeoffs that will need to be considered when comparing alternatives especially for the biofuels; they also highlight the need for care in selecting and interpreting the metrics.