SMART will provide Sustainability Assessments that will move beyond the state-of-the-art by integrating supply analysis of environmental and social impacts, and performing more detailed sector analysis using network analysis.
Supply chain analysis is emerging as an important tool for policy assessments. In recent years there has been a rapid expansion in the supply chain literature covering areas such as carbon footprints, biodiversity and Trade in Value Added (TiVA).
Due to the rapid expansion of international trade relative to economic activity, the role of international trade in shifting environmental and social impacts between countries has become increasingly important. Yet, most analyses focus on the country level with only recent research starting to focus on more detailed sector level analysis. Even less work has been done comparing how environmental and social impacts move differently along the supply chain.
We move beyond the state-of-the-art by integrating supply analysis of environmental and social impacts, and performing more detailed sector analysis using network analysis. After initial research in 2017 and 2018 we will be able to provide the first comprehensive and consistent analysis of environmental and social impacts stemming from EU consumption, and provide specific details at the sector level in least developing countries.
New approaches and techniques that effectively document inefficient and unsustainable aspects of current economic patterns and their replacement by sustainable ones are urgently required. It is necessary to develop cradle-to-cradle perspectives to guide market actors in their actions and behaviours. To operationalize sustainability in this way requires an interdisciplinary integration that addresses the complexity, uncertainty and urgency of sustainable development.
The current Sustainability Life Cycle Assessments (SLCA) measures still have a way to go since they largely base themselves on static and generic approaches rather than focusing on specific issues in specific regions. In addition, new practical frameworks to make sustainable strategic choices in businesses are clearly in demand. We will develop Sustainability Assessment Guidelines with this in mind towards the end of the project (2019-2020).
The way we do our assessments overcomes the limitations presented by the current measures. Our methodology reduces the complexity of sustainability assessments and makes the selection of criteria and the weighting less arbitrary. The aim is to bypass “trade-off errors” in sustainability decision support, as well as develops a more streamlined and market relevant tool that assesses the whole picture of the sustainability in the international supply chain.