Incorporating supply-chain actor perspectives in optimising valorization decisions in agri-food supply chains

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Agri-food supply chains are faced with sustainability challenges linked to the depletion of natural resources and increasing costs of raw materials and energy. Various quantitative models have been proposed to optimize interrelated decisions in designing sustainable agri-food supply chains and address problems related to facility location and allocation, capacities and flow between facilities, and improved sustainability performance. It is important to design sustainable supply chains which address the heterogeneity of indicators and facilitate collaboration for which all participating actors have benefits. Extensions to existing models are needed to encompass the complexity of evaluating sustainability performance of valorization options at supply level while addressing multi-actor aspects.

The objective of this research is to optimize valorization decisions in agri-food supply chains taking into account the objectives and preferences of the multi-actors involved. We use multi-objective optimization models to design sustainable agri-food supply chains by investigating:

(i) what are the conflicts and trade-offs from multi-actor perspectives on sustainability?
(ii) how to optimize valorization decisions at supply chain level and account for different actor perspectives on sustainability in a supply chain network design (SCND) model?
(iii) how to ensure coordination between supply chain actors that are involved in residue valorization of agri-food supply chains; and
(iv) how to optimize the design of multi-biomass supply chains through coordination and incentives.

Illustrative cases from first- and second-generation biomass are used to demonstrate the proposed optimization tools applicability and the effect of multi-actor preferences and objectives on the supply chain design. Insights will be used to identify tradeoffs and phrase recommendations for managerial and policy insights about the adaptations required to eliminate inefficiencies of current supply chains.