Key factors of carbon footprint in the UK food supply chains: a new perspective of life cycle assessment

Aikins, E. and Ramanathan, U. ORCID: 0000-0002-7473-4643, 2020. Key factors of carbon footprint in the UK food supply chains: a new perspective of life cycle assessment. International Journal of Operations and Production Management. ISSN 0144-3577

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to empirically identify key factors of UK food supply chains (SCs) that significantly contribute to CO 2 emissions (CO 2 e) taking into account the life cycle assessment (LCA). The UK food supply chain includes imports from other countries.

Design/Methodology Approach: This research develops a conceptual framework from extant literature. Secondary data obtained from ONS and FAOSTAT covering from 1990 to 2014 are analysed using Multilinear Regression (MLR) and Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) to identify the factors relating to CO 2 emissions significance, and the efficient contributions that are being made to their reduction in the UK food supply chains.

Findings: The study results suggest that Transportation and Sales/Distribution are the two key factors of CO 2 emissions in UK food supply chains. This is confirmed by two multivariate methods, MLR and SFA. MLR results show that transportation increases UK CO 2 emissions by 10 tonnes of CO 2 emissions from one tonne of fruits and vegetables imports from overseas to the UK. Sales and Distribution reduces the UK CO 2 emissions by 1.3 tonnes of CO 2 emissions due to improved, technological operation activities in the UK. In addition, the SFA results confirm that the key factors are sufficient to predict an increase or decrease in CO 2 emissions in the UK food supply chains.

Research limitations/implications: This study has focused on the LCA of the UK food supply chain from limited data. Future studies should consider Sustainability Impact Assessment of the UK food supply chain, identifying the social, economic, regulatory and environmental impacts of the food supply chain using a redefined LCA (all-inclusive assessment) tool.

Practical implications: This research suggests that food supply chain professionals should improve efficiency, e.g., the use of solar energy and biogas, and also integrate low-carbon policies and practices in food supply chain operations. Furthermore, governments should encourage policies such as mobility management programmes, urban redevelopment and privatisation to enhance better transportation systems and infrastructure to continuously reduce CO2e from the food trade.

Originality: Although logistics play a major role in CO 2 emissions, all logistics CO 2 emissions for other countries are not included in the ONS data. This research reveals some important insights into the UK food supply chains. Logistics and other food supply chain processes of importing countries significantly contribute to CO 2 emissions which are yet to be considered in the UK food SCs.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Operations and Production Management
Creators: Aikins, E. and Ramanathan, U.
Publisher: Emerald
Date: 23 June 2020
ISSN: 0144-3577
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1108/IJOPM-06-2019-0478DOI
1317593Other
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 22 Apr 2020 13:53
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2020 10:52
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/39717

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