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Yorkshire’s low carbon future

The Centre for Low Carbon Futures is a £50m initiative to establish a world-leading multidisciplinary translational research centre that will harness Yorkshire and Humber’s research strengths in sustainability sciences with the aim of achieving a lower carbon future.

A flagship initiative of the Yorkshire Universities – Yorkshire Forward Strategic Alliance Activity Framework – the Centre is being developed on behalf of the region by three White Rose Universities and the University of Hull.  Yorkshire Forward is investing significant resources into the creation of the Centre in addition to providing funds to leverage support from other UK and overseas funding agencies.

The Centre will draw on international research expertise from the region’s universities including technology and engineering, natural and social sciences with the aim of creating knowledge to address carbon efficiency in the full range of processes relevant to businesses and the wider community.

Professor Lenny Koh of the University of Sheffield Management School is a key part of the project examining the ‘Greening of the Supply Chain’.  This aims to help businesses both in the region and beyond to navigate the reduction of their carbon footprint.  Her focus is on delivering a balanced supply chain, ensuring that decisions made in one area of the chain don’d have a negative impact elsewhere.

‘Businesses tend to look at just one thing at a time, such as transport and fuel use’, says Professor Koh.  ‘A balanced approach looks at the whole supply chain, seeing which changes overall can create the biggest reduction in carbon usage’.

Professor Koh will work with other specialists from Leeds, York and Hull to look at key sectors in the region where maximum impact can be made.  The research team will map the supply chain for each sector and will work directly with businesses.

A model of the supply chain involving the chosen companies will be created, showing the hotspots  of carbon usage.  Working with the companies, the team will design methods of reducing carbomn usage and use the model to assess the social, environmental and economic impact of these interventions.

‘We’ll also look at things companies most commonly do now and evaluate those using the model’, explains Professor Koh. ‘By working directly with the companies we can focus on realistic interventions that companies will be able to implement’.

The researchers will gather detailed information on the impacts of the specific interventions of their target supply chains and then broaden out the model to encompass the industry or sector as a whole.  The aim is then to build this into a new decision support tool which can be applied to any sector.

Professor Koh is Director of the Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) Research Group.  Find out more at www.sheffield.ac.uk/lscm

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