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Layer analysis of CO2 sources in the US economic supply chains: an input output LCA study

Gokhan Egilmez (Mechanical and Industrial Department of Engineering, University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut, USA)
N. Muhammad Aslaam Mohamed Abdul Ghani (North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA)
Ridvan Gedik (Mechanical and Industrial Department of Engineering, University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut, USA)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 4 December 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Carbon footprint assessment requires a holistic approach, where all possible lifecycle stages of products from raw material extraction to the end of life are considered. The purpose of this paper is to develop an analytical sustainability assessment framework to assess the carbon footprint of US economic supply chains from two perspectives: supply chain layers (tiers) and carbon footprint sources.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology consists of two phases. In the first phase, the data were collected from EORA input output and environmental impact assessment database. In the second phase, 48 input-output-based lifecycle assessment models were developed (seven CO2 sources and total CO2 impact, and six supply chain tiers). In the third phase, the results are analyzed by using data visualization, data analytics, and statistical approaches in order to identify the heavy carbon emitter industries and their percentage shares in the supply chains by each layer and the CO2 source.

Findings

Vast majority of carbon footprint was found to be attributed to the power generation, petroleum refineries, used and secondhand goods, natural gas distribution, scrap, and truck transportation. These industries dominated the entire supply chain structure and found to be the top drivers in all six layers.

Practical implications

This study decomposes the sources of the total carbon footprint of US economic supply chains into six layers and assesses the percentage contribution of each sector in each layer. Thus, it paves the way for quantifying the carbon footprint of each layer in today’s complex supply chain structure and highlights the importance of handling CO2 source in each layer separately while maintaining a holistic focus on the overall carbon footprint impacts in the big picture. In practice, one size fits all type of policy making may not be as effective as it could be expected.

Originality/value

This paper provides a two-dimensional viewpoint for tracing/analyzing carbon footprint across a national economy. In the first dimension, the national economic system is divided into six layers. In the second dimension, carbon footprint analysis is performed considering specific CO2 sources, including energy production, solvent, cement and minerals, agricultural burning, natural decay, and waste. Thus, this paper contributes to the state-of-art sustainability assessment by providing a comprehensive overview of CO2 sources in the US economic supply chains.

Keywords

Citation

Egilmez, G., Mohamed Abdul Ghani, N.M.A. and Gedik, R. (2017), "Layer analysis of CO2 sources in the US economic supply chains: an input output LCA study", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 117 No. 10, pp. 2171-2193. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-11-2016-0473

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited