Climate Neutral Supply Chains
We envision three aims for the special issue:
- First, the special issue aims to extend the focus of supply chain and logistics research from carbon neutrality to climate neutrality. Climate neutrality is similar to carbon neutrality in the sense that a firm’s overall emissions output achieves net-zero. But climate neutrality extends to eliminating other harmful gases in addition to carbon dioxide, such as methane and nitrous oxide. According to a report by the United Nations, methane has an even more significant warming potential than carbon dioxide; its global warming potential is about 56 times that of CO2, meanwhile, nitrous oxide’s warming potential is 280 times greater than CO2.
This special issue aims to enable better understanding of why it is imperative to achieve climate neutrality and shed light on how firms can achieve the goal. Climate neutrality in supply chains is much more than reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of tier-one and tier-two players. For example, most of the excess methane is produced by the vast lots of cattle needed to feed the burger-loving public, while the manufacture and use of fertilizers causes nitrous oxide emissions. It’s unlikely that either of these industries will see a reduction in demand or change their manufacturing methods. Hence, through this special issue, we aim to increase awareness in the supply chain and logistics community to expand the focus from carbon neutrality to climate neutrality.
- Second, to large extent, environmental sustainability research focused on firm level implications, and little research has been conducted at supply chain level. GHG emissions originate at manufacturing sites or plants, and this information is aggregated to create firm level metrics. It is necessary to ask research questions like i) What is the extent to which the supply chain network is exposed to GHG emissions? ii) What are the critical sites that pose the greatest risk in terms of revenue and environmental impact?
- With European Union and China introducing the carbon pricing and emission trading scheme, it could impact the pricing of raw materials. Thus, choosing supply chain partners that are more resilient to changes in supply network and capable of working with carbon pricing is crucial. Through this issue, we aim to study the structural changes in supply chains as a result of these emissions taxes.
The extant work focusing on environmental sustainability mostly concerns the firms’ carbon emissions. Yet little is known about how firms might be able to balance their overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equally to achieve climate neutrality. The balancing action is a fundamental component of achieving climate neutrality. This special issue will advance theoretical understanding of how firms of different sizes in a range of sectors can achieve climate neutrality by adopting their logistics operations and supply chain management practices.
The literature points out that a firm’s supply chain creates higher environmental impact than its internal operations (Jira and Toffel, 2013; Bové and Swartz, 2016; Villena and Dhanorkar, 2020). Indeed, a debate continues among international governments, policymakers, regulatory bodies, and investors on how stricter regulatory environment can be imposed on the firm’s direct and supply chain-related environmental impacts (Houlder and Livsey, 2021).
The UK has pledged to net-zero by 2050. Equally, the European Union aims to be climate-neutral by 2020. Similarly, US regulatory bodies such as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) recognise that climate change poses a systemic risk to the economy.
In fact, the SEC recently has proposed that firms would be required to include certain climate-related information (e.g., Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions) in their periodic reports, such as Form 10-K (SEC, 2022). As governments pledge to net-zero, legislation is under way for companies to be measuring and reducing their GHG emissions from their operations via a range of options such as sequestration or carbon offsetting. Forests are natural carbon sinks. No artificial carbon sinks are able to remove carbon from the atmosphere at the scale necessary to stop global warming.
As it turns out, firms have increased their focus on sustainability even when they have been grappling with the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic (Klymenko and Halse, 2021). As such, this special issue will provide academic researchers and practitioners with insights into how organizations can include their supply chains as part of the global climate change agenda (Oglethorpe and Heron, 2010).
List of themes and key features of the Special Issue:
- Climate neutrality for supply chains: Measurements, data, and information
- Decarbonization of supply chain operations
- GHG Scope 1, 2 and 3 Emissions and their implications for supply chain management
- Energy Conservation and green energy for logistics
- Zero-carbon freight logistics
- Performance implications for supply chain management under explicit climate neutrality objective
- Consumer behaviour – logistics service interface: reducing GHG emissions and packaging waste in the context of home deliveries
- The role of emissions trading in achieving climate neutral supply chains
- Efforts to reduce plastic use, energy consumption, water footprint, biodiversity loss, and waste to operate climate-neutral supply chains
Emel Aktas: Cranfield University
Prabhjot S. Mukandwal: Wayne State University
Laharish Guntuka: Rochester Institute of Technology
Vamsi Sai Krishna Paluvadi: Runaya, (ESG Manager)
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Close Date: 16th February 2023
Bové, A.-T. and Swartz, S. (2016), “Starting at the source: Sustainability in Supply Chains”, McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity, No 4, 11 November, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights… date accessed: 14 June 2022.
Houlder V. and Livsey, A. (2021), “Lex in-depth: how carbon prices will transform industry”, Financial Times, 3 February, https://www.ft.com/content/0412fb34-8691-4443-bc85-0103ee99cf70?fbclid=… date accessed: 14 June 2022.
Jira, C. and Toffel, M.W. (2013), “Engaging supply chains in climate change”, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp.559-577.
Klymenko, O. and Lillebrygfjeld Halse, L. (2021), "Sustainability practices during COVID-19: an institutional perspective", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.
Oglethorpe, D. and Heron, G. (2010), "Sensible operational choices for the climate change agenda", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 538-557.
SEC (2022), “SEC Proposes Rules to Enhance and Standardize Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. Press Release” https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2022-46 date accessed: 14 June 2022.
Villena, V. H. and Dhanorkar, S. (2020), “How institutional pressures and managerial incentives elicit carbon transparency in global supply chains”, Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 66 No. 6, pp. 697-734.