Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sustainable Supply Chains to Save Our Planet Through Operations Research

This has not been a good day with President Trump announcing, as had been expected (but we were hoping otherwise), that the US is quitting the Paris Climate Pact. This puts US at odds with over 190 nations that had signed this pact. 

Frankly, I feel physically repulsed and ill by his decision, which is contrary to that of not only many world leaders but also top executives and even some of his very own advisors. I guess for some, breathing clean air and having their children breathe clean air, too; having clean water, and a diversity of species, and not dealing with more  turbulent weather, uncertainty, and possible food insecurity due to climate change, does not matter. This is so ironic, since the green economy can actually be a very successful economy and can generate jobs and is doing so (as the Chinese have even started to figure out). The costs of not slowing down climate change will be immense and are already upon us.

I do have some hope, however, in leaders from certain industries in the US as well as on the state levels (including California, New York, and Massachusetts) that progress will, nevertheless, be made to reduce pollution and emissions and to combat climate change.

In addition, I have hope because of students and this generation as well as a community of academics and practitioners that has a passion for sustainability and saving our planet.
Our most recent work on supply chains and sustainability, we will be presenting at the MSOM meeting this month. There we will present the paper,  A Competitive Multiperiod Supply Chain Network Model with Freight Carriers and Green Technology Investment Option, which was co-authored by Professors Sara Saberi and Joe Sarkis of WPI, Professor Jose M. Cruz of UConn, and me. In this work, we construct a model with multiple manufacturers, retailers, and freight carriers who maximize the net present value (NPV) of their investments in ecologically friendly technology. Future production, inventory, transaction, and transportation costs savings are used to help fund investments. The environmental impact of production, inventory, transportation, and consumption of products in the supply chain network are all integrated. The tradeoff between the initial technology investment and its ecological footprint effect are considered for the supply chain planning period. This is a large-scale multiperiod game theory problem for  a supply chain of multiple echelons, which we provide theoretical results for an extensive numerical results with policy implications.

We have also published on design of sustainable supply chains:  Design of Sustainable Supply Chains for Sustainable Cities, Anna Nagurney,   Environment & Planning B 42(1): (2015) pp 40-57 and Sustainable Supply Chain Network Design: A Multicriteria Perspective, Anna Nagurney and Ladimer S. Nagurney, International Journal of Sustainable Engineering 3: (2010) pp 189-197.

Also, topics related to transportation have been a theme in our sustainability research:   Environmental Impact Assessment of Transportation Networks with Degradable Links in an Era of Climate Change, Anna Nagurney, Qiang Qiang, and Ladimer Nagurney, International Journal of Sustainable Transportation 4: (2010) pp 154-171 and  Environmental and Cost Synergy in Supply Chain Network Integration in Mergers and Acquisitions, Anna Nagurney and Trisha Woolley, in Sustainable Energy and Transportation Systems, Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Multiple Criteria Decision Making, Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems, M. Ehrgott, B. Naujoks, T. Stewart, and J. Wallenius, Editors, Springer, Berlin, Germany (2010) pp 51-78.

Electronic recycling has also been a theme of several papers of ours, including:   When and for Whom would E-waste be a Treasure Trove? Insights from a Network Equilibrium Model of W-waste Flows, Tina Wakolbinger, Fuminori Toyasaki, Thomas Nowak, and Anna Nagurney, International Journal of Production Economics 154: (2014) pp 263–273.

Food, given the costs associated with waste, has obsessed us in our research, with an example being:  Competitive Food Supply Chain Networks with Application to Fresh Produce, Min Yu and Anna Nagurney, European Journal of Operational Research 224(2): (2013) pp 273-282.

Other sustainable supply chain research of ours has included work on fashion supply chains: Fashion Supply Chain Network Competition with Ecolabelling, Anna Nagurney, Min Yu, and Jonas Floden, in Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management: From Sourcing to Retailing, T.-M. Choi and T.C.E. Cheng, Editors, Springer (2015) pp 61-84 and 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.

Finally, in addition to several books that I have written on sustainability, with examples highlighted here,  we have also written on sustainability issues in healthcare in the papers: 
Securing the Sustainability of Global Medical Nuclear Supply Chains Through Economic Cost Recovery, Risk Management, and Optimization, Anna Nagurney, Ladimer S. Nagurney, and Dong Li, International Journal of Sustainable Transportation 9(6): (2015) pp 405-418 and Supply Chain Network Design of a Sustainable Blood Banking System, Anna Nagurney and Amir H. Masoumi, in Sustainable Supply Chains: Models, Methods and Public Policy Implications, T. Boone, V. Jayaraman, and R. Ganeshan, Editors, Springer, London, England (2012) pp 49-72.

We have also published on policies and energy and the environment with an example of that research being:  Spatially Differentiated Trade of Permits for Multipollutant Electric Power Supply Chains, Trisha Woolley, Anna Nagurney, and John Stranlund, in Optimization in the Energy Industry, J. Kallrath, P. Pardalos, S. Rebennack, and M. Scheidt, Editors, Springer, Berlin, Germany (2009) pp 277-296.

Sustainability of our supply chains has never been more essential.