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Advancing Integrated Systems Modelling Framework for Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment

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  • Anthony Halog

    ()
    (Research Group for Industrial Ecology, LCA and Systems Sustainability (IELCASS), School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA)

  • Yosef Manik

    ()
    (Research Group for Industrial Ecology, LCA and Systems Sustainability (IELCASS), School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA)

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    Abstract

    The need for integrated methodological framework for sustainability assessment has been widely discussed and is urgent due to increasingly complex environmental system problems. These problems have impacts on ecosystems and human well-being which represent a threat to economic performance of countries and corporations. Integrated assessment crosses issues; spans spatial and temporal scales; looks forward and backward; and incorporates multi-stakeholder inputs. This study aims to develop an integrated methodology by capitalizing the complementary strengths of different methods used by industrial ecologists and biophysical economists. The computational methodology proposed here is systems perspective, integrative, and holistic approach for sustainability assessment which attempts to link basic science and technology to policy formulation. The framework adopts life cycle thinking methods—LCA, LCC, and SLCA; stakeholders analysis supported by multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA); and dynamic system modelling. Following Pareto principle, the critical sustainability criteria, indicators and metrics ( i.e. , hotspots) can be identified and further modelled using system dynamics or agent based modelling and improved by data envelopment analysis (DEA) and sustainability network theory (SNT). The framework is being applied to development of biofuel supply chain networks. The framework can provide new ways of integrating knowledge across the divides between social and natural sciences as well as between critical and problem-solving research.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 469-499

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:469-499:d:11435

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    Web page: http://www.mdpi.com/

    Related research

    Keywords: integrated sustainability assessment; life cycle thinking; multi-criteria decision making; stakeholders analysis; data envelopment analysis; agent based modelling; network theory; complexity dynamics; biofuels;

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    References

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    1. Timo Kuosmanen & Mika Kortelainen, 2004. "Data Envelopment Analysis in Environmental Valuation: Environmental Performance, Eco-efficiency and Cost-Benefit Analysis," Others 0409004, EconWPA.
    2. Emrouznejad, Ali & Parker, Barnett R. & Tavares, Gabriel, 2008. "Evaluation of research in efficiency and productivity: A survey and analysis of the first 30 years of scholarly literature in DEA," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 151-157, September.
    3. Por, Andras & Stahl, Janos & Temesi, Jozsef, 1990. "Decision support system for production control: Multiple criteria decision making in practice," Engineering Costs and Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 213-218, October.
    4. Bouman, Mathijs & Heijungs, Reinout & van der Voet, Ester & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M. & Huppes, Gjalt, 2000. "Material flows and economic models: an analytical comparison of SFA, LCA and partial equilibrium models," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 195-216, February.
    5. Munda, Giuseppe, 2004. "Social multi-criteria evaluation: Methodological foundations and operational consequences," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 158(3), pages 662-677, November.
    6. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
    7. Pleanjai, Somporn & Gheewala, Shabbir H., 2009. "Full chain energy analysis of biodiesel production from palm oil in Thailand," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(Supplemen), pages S209-S214, November.
    8. Wang, Jiang-Jiang & Jing, You-Yin & Zhang, Chun-Fa & Zhao, Jun-Hong, 2009. "Review on multi-criteria decision analysis aid in sustainable energy decision-making," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(9), pages 2263-2278, December.
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