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Carbon Supply Chains Essay

3303 words - 14 pages

Carbon emission has been considered as a potential threat to biotic system and therefore, there is a worldwide consensus to develop policies that address carbon related concerns at each level: policy making, extraction, processing, production, transportation, inventory and their operations throughout the original or extended product lifecycle and so on. Therefore, policy makers in different countries have put industries to voluntarily or mandatorily reduce carbon emissions to a certain level. The whole attempt is to reduce carbon emission to atmosphere to a sustainable level. For countries, which have ratified Kyoto Protocol, for example, there have been mandatory reduction requirements on lowering carbon emissions. Although various mechanisms are made in order to facilitate the reduction in requirements, the impact of such mechanisms is rather long term and therefore, there is a need for continuous innovation on policies and processes for carbon reduction at different levels of the whole supply chain of products and human activities.

In general, carbon emission is considered in the forward supply chain, but it is also an important to consider the reverse chain which requires, recollection, refurbishing, reusing and disposing. A considerable research has been done on sustainable operations and industrial ecology (e.g. lifecycle analysis, environmental certification, and ISO standards) but little research is done in reorganizing the supply chains in the face of carbon constraints and carbon costs.

Researchers around the world are working simultaneously on various innovative processes and innovative operation models, mathematical models in order to be able to reduce carbon emissions through such provisions as inventory control, better transportation methods, or fewer transportation nodes, dynamic lot size, choice of efficient transportation mode in the total spectrum of supply chain, location and volume of inventory, bulk inventory versus distributed inventory, and lean logistics. For all these, generic framework for attaching carbon related emissions in each part of the supply chain becomes necessary. Therefore, relation between buyers and vendors for a coordinated reduction in carbon emission would also be necessary.

The modeling of supply chain spectrum today is generally focused on achieving economic efficiency, through location and allocation of resources, processing capabilities and capacities, postponement and marketing, and take back (if mandated) of the products in the market. For economic efficiency, studies have used economic models, economic order quantity (EOQ) model, linear, non-linear models, and other mathematical and analytical models.
There have been some recent attempts to consider the supply chains in terms of optimization beyond economic efficiency. Authors have used environmental related aspects in supply chain, specially related to carbon emission. Therefore, such economic policies as centralized or decentralized...

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