Since the Paris climate change agreement in 2015, supply chains around the world have committed to work toward slowing the rise in global temperature. Conservation of resources; investments in green technologies; adoption of reduce, reuse and recycle principles, and development of low-carbon products are some of the ways that firms have contributed. Despite these efforts, the Paris target seems to be slipping from reach.
Things have changed drastically since the beginning of this year. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has accounted for more than 350,000 deaths, has pushed the world’s economies into a state of near-complete shutdown. The reduced economic activity has had an unintended consequence on the environment, bringing down emission levels significantly. This short-term reduction is primarily due to reduced transportation, which contributes to almost 25% of all the global carbon emissions.
However, this deadly pandemic also has had several unplanned negative consequences on the environment, some of which have already caught global attention, while others are yet to be realized. These are highlighted below.
Medical Safety Factors
To counter these unplanned consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on environmental sustainability, supply chain-centric policymaking is the critical need of the hour.
It’s unarguably true that economies must find a way to bring back economic normalcy by creating jobs. However, sustainability-driven policymaking could promote economic revival as well as environmental growth. Several countries like Germany and South Korea have developed ”green” economic stimulus packages that will not only develop tens of thousands of jobs, but also push forward a sustainable growth agenda.
Sirish Gouda is an assistant professor at Indian Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli. Debabrata Ghosh is an associate professor at Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation, MIT SCALE Network.
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