Spatially Differentiated Sustainability Assessment of Products
Due to the globalization of supply chains, the environmental and social impacts related to products are often dispersed over many locations. Life cycle-oriented sustainability assessment methods aim at compiling the total impacts without explicitly considering their spatial distribution. This paper illustrates how the incorporation of spatial differentiation in sustainability assessment can influence assessment results and lead to different conclusions about the design of supply chains to improve product sustainability. Comparing two alternative configurations of a simplified supply chain for beer production and concentrating only on environmental impacts, it is found that the consideration of environmental and technological heterogeneity has the potential to reverse the rank order of the alternatives.
KeywordsSustainability assessment Spatial differentiation Environmental heterogeneity Technological heterogeneity
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