Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hedonistic Sustainability and Supply Chains -- Enjoying Our Environment and Our World

I often write about sustainability on this blog and also about supply chains.

I care about our world and our environment and that is one reason I am spending a lot of time in Sweden as a Visiting Professor of Operations Management, as part of my sabbatical from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. The Scandinavians are very advanced in terms of not only social welfare but also sustainability.

This past Friday, my colleague, Professor Jonas Floden, who is one of my hosts at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, and I were visited by a freelance journalist from San Francisco, who had heard me speak on Transport and Traffic at The New York Times EnergyForTomorrow Building Sustainable Cities event this past April.

Our conversation, accompanied by delicious coffee in our office suite, began with congestion charging in Gothenburg, implemented this past January, with contrasts to the Stockholm congestion charging system, which was implemented back in 2006. We also talked about the upcoming referendum, which is an interesting twist, and is due, in part, to the efforts of a local newspaper GT to try to overturn the tolls and they are working with car ridership down and transit use up!!!

In our discussions, we were also told about the waste to energy project of the leader of hedonistic sustainability, the Danish architectural genius Bjarke Ingels, who likes to think BIG,  and which will come with a ski slope! The project is now under construction in flat Copenhagen.

You can enjoy the wisdom and charisma of this visionary architect speaking at TED on YouTube.

Sustainability does not have to be all just about sacrifice. It is a design challenge and I could not agree more. Our work on design of sustainable supply chains,  Sustainable Supply Chain Network Design: A Multicriteria Perspective, Anna Nagurney and Ladimer S. Nagurney, International Journal of Sustainable Engineering 3: (2010) pp 189-197 and even sustainable supply chains for sustainable cities, Design of Sustainable Supply Chains for Sustainable Cities, Anna Nagurney, Invited Paper for the Complex-City Workshop, December 5-6, 2011, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to appear in Environment & Planning B, is motivated by preserving the beauty of our world -- from the air that we breathe to the natural environment to the food that we eat and even to the clothes that we wear.

Note that consumers in Sweden favor the fish (and fishermen) that they know with information provided on the point of origin and date and I have been captivated by fish supply chains and even the use of RFID technology to track the fish.
And, how can you not enjoy the beauty and taste of the treats below, which I captured in one of my favorite cafes in Gothenburg:
Kudos also to H&M, the fast fashion house, which, I might add, was doing great sales yesterday, as evidenced by the lines in its stores in Gothenburg, for instituting its Rewear-Reuse-Recycle-ConversiontoEnergy initiative. And, according to H&M's website:

Does H&M profit from the returned garments?

No. Our revenues will be used to reward our customers, to make donations to local charity organisations and to invest in recycling innovation. For each kilogram of clothes we collect, 0.02 EUR* will be donated to a local charity organisation chosen by H&M.

I found out about H&M's Garment Collecting Initiative, after we had made purchases at H&M and I liked the bag above, which we will continue to use and reuse. Fast fashion is another passion of mine and we co-authored the paper, Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management Under Oligopolistic Competition and Brand Differentiation, Anna Nagurney and Min Yu, International Journal of Production Economics, Special Section on Green Manufacturing and Distribution in the Fashion and Apparel Industries 135: (2012) pp 532-540.

Whether it is the food that we eat, the medicines that we consume, or the clothes that we wear, the buildings that we live and work in, the parks and transportation systems that we enjoy, sustainability, at its best, is hedonistic. Interestingly, last Saturday, while by the Central Station and Radisson in Gothenburg, I was intrigued by the number of police and police cars (unusual in this very safe city). In asking locals what was up I was told -- a local soccer team was in town and then a Chinese princess is visiting. The truth was that a Chinese delegation had arrived and was staying at the Radisson.  According to this report, the Chinese realize west Sweden's competence in energy and eco-friendliness and have come to learn.

 I leave you with photos of the views from the top of the School of Business, Economics and Law, which has won many awards for its architecture. Note the photos of the new bus lane. I'll save the photos of the hills through the woods that I climb to get to my apartment for another post.