Category Archives: Sustainability

Enviormental concerns. Global warming.

A framework for ‘biomass-to-energy supply chains’

Reference: Martin Svanberg, Árni Halldórsson, (2013) “Supply chain configuration for biomass-to-energy: the case of torrefaction”, International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 7 Iss: 1, pp.65 – 83

 

Now: POMS 2013

POMS is another one of this incredibly huge conferences where you need to be lucky – or plan it well – to actually meet people outside of the main track you are attending. The quality overall is impressive, pity that most presentations are based on abstracts only.

Different from many other conferences is all the career advice – there are lots of teaching-related tracks, actual career advice tracks, and probably best, there was even a one for women in operations management on how to manage life and career together. More of these, please! (Luckily, also INFORMS has a similar community already, though I am not too convinced of the name “WORMS“.)

If there is anything to complain about, it’s the scam with the mini-conferences that everyone thinks they paid for but are then asked to pay for even more. Apparently even the organisers of these were ripped off! It’s not as if the conference hadn’t been pricy already without that… and the catering is, well:

Gyöngyi

Making noise about electric cars

After decades of research and technological innovations to reduce transportation-related noise (yes, the most quoted book is from 1987, and there are even journals dedicated to noise control), Britain’s RoSPA suggests the unthinkable: they want electric cars to be forced to make more noise (in the Feb 2013 issue of “Care on the Road”)! Déjà vu? Sounds like a sequel to “Who killed the electric car?“…

Gyöngyi

Crazy ideas

Up for sthg radical and even crazy? Well, at least the Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment claims to be up for it through their call for a “crazy ideas edition“. It all starts with

Premise 1: Economic growth is unsustainable.

and even allows authors to suggest pseudonyms if they for some reason cannot stand behind their own thoughts. From the research perspective, the call is for nothing less than a paradigm shift.

Gyöngyi

Impressions from the Olympus conference

This is a Greek + diaspora conference mostly but with the with to expand. Topics were certainly universal, ranging from transport infrastructure to city logistics, reverse logistics, to greening the agri-food supply chain. All coming with a reference to the current economic crisis, though – including articles that investigate the impact of the economic crisis on various aspects of the supply chain. Way beyond Greece, this is sthg we may all want to learn about.

Gyöngyi

Social, health (and environmental) impacts of transportation

The EU likes to focus on CO2 emissions (only), but it is time to consider the social impacts of transportation as well. Jones and Lucas (2012) summarise it rather well, outlining the social impact to consist of accessibility (vs. severance), health- and finance-related outcomes and community-related impacts. Some highlights are the discussion of
- coercive walking, when you don’t really have a choice and walking actually causes stress,
- the intrinsic value and enjoyment of travel,
- the role of social networks in activity-travel planning (vs. social exclusion), and issues of the
- fear of crime.

Interesting from a geography angle is the trifold discussion of distribution effects across space, time, but also across socio-demographic patterns. More on the equity and public health aspects are to be found in the entire special issue of the Journal of Transport Geography – definitely worth a read.

Gyöngyi

LPI 2012 report out

The World Bank has just released the new Logistics Performance Index 2012 along with its report, showing how the LPI also impacts on supply chains. After all, “supply chains are only as strong as their weakest links” (quoted from the report in fact).

The gap between high and low performers in the LPI remains high. The bottom quintile is mostly made up of landlocked countries (or small island states), post-conflict zones and countries seriously impacted by natural disasters… The LPI also makes a link between income and LPI score, yet there are numerous under- and over-performers, i.e. income alone doesn’t make the difference. So what does? The way forward is outlined to consist of investments in trade-related infrastructure (road quality, rail infrastructure), improving logistics services in developing countries, co-ordinating border management, regional facilitation and integration, national data for reforms, and for a differentiator in the final (strongest) quintile, supply chain sustainability and development. I bet the next doctoral course on Trade and Transport Facilitation will shed some more light on these issues, after all, many of those who contributed to the report will also be the faculty in the course.

Gyöngyi

The story of “stuff” – insert “closed loop supply chain”

Whether you call it the story of stuff, materials economy, or the story of sustainable, closed loop supply chains, this clip is a nice illustration of how we have traditionally looked at supply chains and their “externalities” and what that does to us. Watch it!

Gyöngyi

“Women use cars for time management”

… would probably sum up this article (Jain et al., in press). Here’s the twist: The caring aspect of women may lead to the choice of other transportation modes (notably more sustainable ones) otherwise but is outweighed by the question of time management related to the schooling of dependent children. In other words, if you run back and forth to school and the hobbies of your kids (who doesn’t cry out loud at people calling that “logistics”?), you stop caring about the environment. Quite an issue to take into account from a sustainable behaviour perspective. I wonder how personal carbon emission budgets would affect this though.

Gyöngyi

PS. Loved the interesting method of the article though.

Now: CR3

aka corporate responsibility to the cube. The conference started well with a keynote that focused on supply chain management when problematising the multinational corporation as a political actor. The SCM stream then assembled an interesting combination of very diverse types of sustainable SCM research, tackling anything from the organic banana supply chain to joint intra-sectoral approaches in auditing suppliers to corruption in development supply chains. Quite in accord with the theme of the conference (the power of responsibility) a common conclusion of the SCM stream can be summarised as “documents and standards are nice, but control of actions is needed instead”. Or, as the insight of a paper on forest certification exemplified, no forestry company has yet lost any customer because of not having ratified the certificate…

Gyöngyi