SoGES Announces Global Challenges Research Teams and Resident Fellows

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Measuring the carbon footprint of alternative business models in the fashion industry

Principal Investigators: Sonali Diddi, Design and Merchandising Department; Zac Rogers, Department of Management; Conant rich, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability; Lumina Albert, Department of Management; and Anders Fremstad, Department of Economics.

The fashion industry is resource-intensive, and with growing global demand for clothing, it is poised to have ongoing negative environmental impacts. Increasingly, recognizing the need to mitigate these impacts, modern textile production systems are beginning to incorporate circular economy principles – restorative and regenerative approaches – into their business strategy. Although these alternative modes of production may be sustainable, there is very little empirical research to support these claims.

This team aims to develop a tool to quantify the carbon footprint of at least two different alternative business models and compare them to the fashion industry’s traditional take-make-use-dispose business model. The team will identify and analyze existing data and tools available to measure carbon footprint. They will develop an online tool powered by real-time information to measure the carbon impact of alternative fashion business models and disseminate the results of these projects to academia and industry.

Resilient Industry Supply Chains (RISC)

Principal Investigators: Erin Arneson, Construction Management Department; Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez, Construction Management Department; and Hussam Mahmud, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Climate change amplifies the risk of extreme weather events and disasters, transforming where and how people do business around the world. Features that make modern supply chains fast and cost-effective make global supply chains more vulnerable to disaster-related disruptions. Therefore, to maintain continued economic growth, US industries must adapt global supply chains to become more sustainable and resilient to disaster-related disruptions.

This project will examine the roofing industry in the United States and develop a framework to empirically assess its resilience. The team will collect data on regional, national and global roofing industry supply chains and develop a working geospatial model to predict how supply chain disruptions will affect the US roofing industry. The main objective of this team is to share these results with the public via an interactive online map and through published research.

Re-use Efficiency Packaging with Analytics for Customized Knowledge (REPACK)

Principal Investigators: Steven Simske, Department of Systems Engineering; Jean Macdonald, Department of Management; and Elizabeth Parks, Department of Communication Studies and Specialist in Dialogue and Diversity at the Center for Public Deliberation

One of today’s biggest sustainability challenges is the waste that accompanies packaging, usually corrugated, due to the increased prevalence of online shopping. However, since an average box contains only 50% recycled material, half the fiber still needs to be produced each time a package is shipped. Additionally, online orders result in smaller and more frequent one-time orders that require more packaging compared to bulk orders that are sent to big box, physical stores and then resold. Considering these factors, reusing packaging materials is more efficient than recycling.

This project will explore the development of a label designed to track reused packaging, investigate ways to drive supply chain adoption, and explore how branding affects community participation, thereby improving sustainability. growing e-commerce industry.

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