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In pursuit of closed-loop supply chains for critical materials:: An exploratory study in the green energy sector
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Sustainability and Industrial Dynamics. Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Sustainability and Industrial Dynamics.
2018 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A closed-loop supply chain (CLSC) is considered not only an important solution for ensuring sustainable exploitation of materials, but also a promising strategy for securing long-term availability of materials. The latter is especially highlighted in the materials criticality discourse. Critical raw materials (CRMs), being exposed to supply disruptions, create an uncertain operational environment for many industries, particularly for green energy technologies that employ multiple CRMs. However, recycling rates of CRMs are very low and engagement of companies in CLSC for CRM is limited. This study examines factors influencing CLSC for CRM development in photovoltaic panels and wind turbine technologies. The aim is to analyze how the factors manifest themselves in different companies along the supply chain and to identify enabling and bottleneck conditions for implementation of CLSC for CRM. The novelty of the study is twofold: the focus on material rather than product flows, and examination of factors from a multiactor perspective. The evidence obtained suggests that the manufacturing companies and reverse supply-chain operators engaged in the study take different perspectives (product vs. material) regarding development of CLSC for CRM and thus emphasize different factors. The findings underline the need for interactions between supply-chain actors, a sound competitive environment for recycling processes, and investment in technologies and infrastructure development if CLSC for CRM is to be developed. The paper provides implications for practitioners and policy makers for implementation of CLSC for CRM, and suggests prospects for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2018.
Keyword [en]
Circular economy; Closed-loop supply chains (CLSC); Critical materials; Green energy technologies; Industrial ecology; Recycling
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-223603DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12741OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-223603DiVA, id: diva2:1185437
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation
Note

QC 20180312

Available from: 2018-02-24 Created: 2018-02-24 Last updated: 2018-05-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Opening the black box of material criticality: heterogeneity and interrelations of companies within and across industrial sectors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Opening the black box of material criticality: heterogeneity and interrelations of companies within and across industrial sectors
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The concept of ‘material criticality’ has been introduced to examine availability and accessibility of natural resources that underlie industrial competitiveness and deployment of strategic technologies, such as electric mobility or wind turbines. The academic and policy discourse conceptualised material criticality rather as a black box, assuming industrial sectors to be monolithic, homogeneous and independent entities, neglecting complexity of the company dimension. The thesis questions appropriateness of these assumptions and aims to achieve the following objectives: 1) to examine the influence of heterogeneity and interrelations of companies on identification and mitigation of material criticality; and 2) to demonstrate their relevance for understanding material criticality.Through the exploratory case based research, the thesis highlights the importance of the company dimension for examination of critical materials. The findings indicate the need to extend the criticality analysis to consider power relations of companies along supply chains, and competitive relations of companies across industrial sectors at a shared resource market. These relations influence a company’s ability to identify and mitigate material criticality, which in turn affects an industrial system’s ability to withstand supply disruptions. Heterogeneity of companies within and across industrial sectors suggests against utility of generic outcomes of the criticality analysis at the national/global levels.The thesis provides implications for policy-makers regarding selective support for companies and industrial sectors to assist their efforts to mitigate material criticality. The results serve to raise awareness of practitioners about material criticality and to assist with the decision-making for development of mitigation strategies. Finally, the thesis calls for the need to establish a dialogue between policy-makers, industrial actors and researchers to advance understanding and analysis of material criticality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2018. p. 68
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2018:12
Keyword
Critical materials, Identification, Mitigation, Company, Supply chain, Inter-sectoral competition, Buyer-supplier power relations
National Category
Social Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-227878 (URN)978-91-7729-769-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-07, D2, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20180514

his thesis is produced as part of the EMJD Programme European Doctorate in Industrial Management (EDIM) funded by the European Commission, Erasmus Mundus Action 1.

The research was jointly conducted in Politecnico di Milano and KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2018-05-14Bibliographically approved

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