Talk on Redesigning Supply Chains for Absolute Sustainability

Room AHB1.40A, AgHort Block B, Massey University, Palmerston North; Time 12.30 pm
Thursday, 28 November 2019

Global supply chains are growing and becoming more complex as consumer demands are increasing. On the one hand, this supports the economic growth of different supply chain actors. On the other hand, it has led to significant triple bottom-line (environmental, social and economic) sustainability impacts globally as well as locally, including climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, inequality, exploitation and poverty. While there are different methods to quantify these impacts, the technique of Input-Output Analysis (IOA), and the related Environmentally-Extended Input Output Analysis (EE-IOA), has so far emerged as the most prominent method for analysis at regional and global scales. However, this technique does not provide information on the actual “limits to growth” of economic systems around the world. And, at the same time, global sustainability impacts are, in general, exacerbating. This therefore calls for an additional lens i.e. absolute sustainability. The absolute sustainability lens is based on a perspective that there are global boundaries for environmental and social systems within which our supply chains should operate and develop. Both academia and businesses are currently investigating how existing and future supply chains can be (re)designed to operate within these so-called planetary or global boundaries.

In this presentation, Dr Arunima Malik (University of Sydney) and Dr Chanjief Chandrakumar (Massey University) will talk about recent developments in this research field, as well as the future challenges and opportunities.


Dr Arunima Malik is a lecturer at the Integrated Sustainability Assessment Group, School of Physics and the Sydney Business School. Her research interests include full supply chain sustainability analysis of introducing new industries in an economy, triple bottom line and footprint assessments, and hybrid life cycle assessments. She has analysed the economic, social and environmental impacts of potential biofuel industries in Australia. Additionally, she has quantified the drivers of a change in global energy use, carbon dioxide emissions and nitrogen emissions using input-output based structural decomposition analysis. She also coordinates and teaches a number of postgraduate courses for the Masters of Sustainability program.

Dr Chanjief Chandrakumar is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University. His research focuses on development of absolute sustainability assessment methods and application of life cycle assessment and associated approaches such as carbon footprinting to agri-food and construction sectors.  He had previously held different research and teaching positions at the University of Helsinki, the University of Sydney and the Technical University of Denmark. He holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences from Massey University and a BSc (Hons) in Engineering from the University of Peradeniya.