Carbon footprint and the management of supply chains: Insights from simple models

Saif Benjaafar, Yanzhi Li, Mark Daskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

642 Scopus citations


Using relatively simple and widely used models, we illustrate how carbon emission concerns could be integrated into operational decision-making with regard to procurement, production, and inventory management. We show how, by associating carbon emission parameters with various decision variables, traditional models can be modified to support decision-making that accounts for both cost and carbon footprint. We examine how the values of these parameters as well as the parameters of regulatory emission control policies affect cost and emissions. We use the models to study the extent to which carbon reduction requirements can be addressed by operational adjustments, as an alternative (or a supplement) to costly investments in carbon-reducing technologies. We also use the models to investigate the impact of collaboration among firms within the same supply chain on their costs and carbon emissions and study the incentives firms might have in seeking such cooperation. We provide a series of insights that highlight the impact of operational decisions on carbon emissions and the importance of operational models in evaluating the impact of different regulatory policies and in assessing the benefits of investments in more carbon efficient technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6248180
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Carbon emissions
  • carbon footprint
  • climate control
  • environmental policy
  • operations models
  • supply chain collaboration and coordination

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