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European Journal of Operational Research journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ejor
Operations Research for green logistics – An overview of aspects, issues, contributions and challenges
Rommert Dekker a,⇑, Jacqueline Bloemhof b, Ioannis Mallidis c a Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Department of Logistics, Decision and Information Sciences, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands c Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.O. Box 461, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece b a r t i c l e
i n f o
Available online 13 November 2011
Supply chain management
a b s t r a c t
The worldwide economic growth of the last century has given rise to a vast consumption of goods while globalization has led to large streams of goods all over the world. The production, transportation, storage and consumption of all these goods, however, have created large environmental problems. Today, global warming, created by large scale emissions of greenhouse gasses, is a top environmental concern. Governments, action groups and companies are asking for measures to counter this threat. Operations Research has a long tradition in improving operations and especially in reducing costs. In this paper, we present a review that highlights the contribution of Operations Research to green logistics, which involves the integration of environmental aspects in logistics. We give a sketch of the present and possible developments, focussing on design, planning and control in a supply chain for transportation, inventory of products and facility decisions. While doing this, we also indicate several areas where environmental aspects could be included in OR models for logistics.
Ó 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Operations Research (OR) has been described as the science of better (the slogan of the INFORMS society) as it mainly focuses on minimizing the costs of existing processes. Yet in today’s society, it is not only proﬁts that are important as many people, companies and governments are concerned about the sustainability of our society. So can Operations Research also contribute to a better environment? In our opinion, the role of OR for the environment should get more attention. Operations Research leads to a more efﬁcient use of resources, which is not only cost attractive, but also tends to create less emissions of greenhouse gases. Secondly, Operations Research helps to identify the trade-offs between environmental aspects and costs. Very often, much reduction in emissions can be achieved with only a marginal increase in costs.
Operations Research techniques and especially multi-criteria decision analysis is therefore an important method in this respect.
In this review, we will highlight its (possible) contributions to green logistics, which is the study of practices that aim to reduce the environmental externalities, mainly related to greenhouse gas emissions, noise and accidents, of logistics operations and therefore develop a sustainable balance between economic, environmental and social objectives (http://www.greenlogistics.org/, last accessed on August, 16, 2011). We deal with all aspects of logistics such as
⇑ Corresponding author.
E-mail address: email@example.com (R. Dekker).
0377-2217/$ - see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2011.11.010 transportation, warehousing and inventories, and address the related environmental aspects such as emissions of greenhouse gases, noise and use of scarce resources. We will not differentiate between green logistics and green supply chain management. While we mainly focus