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Energy resources: trajectories for supply chain management

Árni Halldórsson (Department of Technology Management & Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden and Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Martin Svanberg (Department of Technology Management & Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 18 January 2013




The aim of this research paper is to explain how principles of supply chain management (SCM) provide important conditions for the production, accessibility and use of energy, from the point of origin to the point of consumption.


The paper identifies three distinct trajectories in which the interplay between energy and SCM can release potential for research and practice.


Energy resources are vital to power industrial processes in manufacturing and logistics, while their use is also a major contributor to carbon emissions. The integrative nature of SCM provides conditions for improvement in use and accessibility of energy, and can facilitate the transition in which fossil fuels are replaced with a system of supply and conversion of renewable energy. These opportunities are highlighted by developing a set of three trajectories, which range from a true supply chain perspective on the energy sector, to an up‐stream and down‐stream perspective, respectively.

Research limitations/implications

The impact of energy resources on carbon emissions makes them important units of analysis in further SCM research. Future research must acknowledge the variety in the nature of energy resources, and provide frameworks that are able to address the particular features of these.

Practical implications

Supply chain strategists must assess how energy use, efficiency, dependency and accessibility influence operations, both internally and externally in the supply chain. Logistics flows are powered by energy. As a considerable portion of carbon emissions created by supply chain operations is energy related, energy must be seen as a means towards achievement of environmental sustainability.

Social implications

Understanding the relationship between energy and SCM will help managers to address environmental sustainability.


This is a timely topic of a cross‐disciplinary nature that has only been addressed to a limited extent by SCM so far. The topic is relevant to a large group of problem owners: supply chain strategists of companies where energy use, efficiency, dependency and security is an issue, and where operations processes have an impact on carbon emissions; for the energy sector, that needs to sustain a steady supply of energy, and increase accessibility to renewable energy sources that can replace fossil fuel; for policy makers, where energy dependency and security at a national level is an issue.



Halldórsson, Á. and Svanberg, M. (2013), "Energy resources: trajectories for supply chain management", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 66-73.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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