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Title: Developing low carbon supply networks : influence, measurement, and improvement
Author: Hu, Jialun
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 5615
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Climate change has emerged as one of the most serious challenges faced by human beings. As manufacturing globalisation involves more and more emerging nations, a greater proportion of CO2 emissions is generated from developing countries. The dilemma between fast industrial development and carbon reduction makes firms in developing nations reluctant to take serious commitment and actions in CO2 emission reduction in their global manufacturing practices. From a theoretical perspective, low-carbon supply networks research is also still in its infant stage and needs more explorations and development. Therefore this research aims to address the research question: “How can supply networks in developing countries be developed to reduce carbon emission?” Especially it focuses on: • An influence process to engage companies in developing countries to reduce carbon emission • A typology of carbon emission assessments in supply networks • An initial process of implementing carbon-reduction projects in supply network The research adopts theory building approach based on multiple case studies. The units of analysis are carbon reduction project of focal firms and initiatives of Non-Government Organizations (NGO). Drawing upon the cases, this research develops a general framework for developing low-carbon supply network, including three parts namely network influence, network CO2 measurement, and network CO2 improvement (IMI), with the three process models accordingly proposed. In the ‘influence’ process, based on resource dependence theory (RDT), this research illustrates a categorization of influence choices and a typology of influence pathways, which both underpin the four-step influence procedure proposed later. In the ‘measurement’ process, this research proposes a goal-oriented carbon footprint measurement guideline. In the “improvement’ process, an initial framework to classify carbon reduction projects and implementation process model of these projects are both built based on the analysis of primary case studies and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) database which contains corporates’ carbon reduction practices. Overall this research makes contributions in the following aspects: (1) this research advocates IMI framework as a pathway to de-carbonize supply networks, contributing to manufacturing system’s evolution to sustainable paradigm; (2) It integrates the institutional, stakeholder and network theory in the context of de-carbonization, and extends the research scope of operations management; (3) The research contributes to life cycle assessment (LCA) literature by exploring supply network coordination during the LCA procedure; (4) The research also contributes to green supply chain literature by providing insights from firms’ de-carbonization projects in supply network. (5) In practice, the IMI three-process models can help practitioners to implement de-carbonization management, serving as a preliminary guideline to follow. The potential audience of this research can be MNCs, NGOs, government bodies, consultants, and any organization or individual who aim to change industrial system in the pursuit of climate change mitigation.
Supervisor: Shi, Yongjiang ; Gregory, Mike ; Lewis, Dennis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: low carbon supply network ; sustainable industrial system ; carbon footprint measurement