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ICT Enabled Sustainability Framework for Developing Industrial Ecology-Modeled Value Chain Networks of Forest-based Products

Published: Apr 1, 2009

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Abstract:

A 21st century modern global economy is a sustainable and interconnected economy which optimally uses both renewable and non-renewable resources for sustainable production and consumption of goods and services.  Industries are evolving to become environmentally responsible, bio-based and capitalizing the innovations of  information and communication technology (ICT) in the development of industrial ecology-modeled supply chains under the overarching principle of sustainable development. Our existing economy, which is strongly grounded on financial economics, has been the basis of development emulated by different industries in the past decades. This financial oriented economy has now lost its grip, as shown by the economic downturns in US economy, which eventually impacted other regional economies. The time has come that any developmental pursuit should be holistic and beneficial to all global citizens where the principles of sustainable development are aligned with this endeavor. The triple bottom line objective of sustainable development is also a good start to embrace further the continuing evolution of interdisciplinary courses and degree programs in higher learning institutions. The time for integrated, holistic, collaborative and life cycle thinking is ripe to eventually shift our human actions and behaviors towards sustaining our current development and future generations’ survival. The integrative systems approach to solving regional environmental issues can be supported by ICTs that have revolutionized the way we conduct businesses locally and internationally. ICT is a significant enabler to the creation of global supply (value) chain networks, which makes the goal of sustainable development achievable at different spatial levels over time. Regardless of scale, our existing systems that involve the interactions of human society and nature require us to transition towards sustainability. The main goal of this work is to develop an integrated framework and conceptual design model, through application of idea behind electronic data interchange (EDI), that can support the creation of sustainable supply chain networks of forest bioproducts.

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