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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Essays on sustainable operations management Gopalakrishnan, Sanjith


This dissertation comprises three independent essays on sustainable operations management. In the first essay, we consider supply chains with joint production of carbon emissions, operating under either a carbon tax or an internal carbon pricing regime. Supply chain leaders, such as Walmart, are assumed to be environmentally motivated to induce their suppliers to abate their emissions. We derive a footprint-balanced scheme for reapportioning the total carbon emissions amongst the firms in the supply chain. This allocation scheme, which is the Shapley value of an associated cooperative game, is shown to be transparent and easy to compute. Further, when the abatement cost functions of the firms are private information, it incentivizes suppliers to exert pollution abatement efforts that minimize the maximum deviation from the socially optimal pollution level. Finally, it is the unique allocation mechanism satisfying certain contextually desirable properties. The second essay analyzes a Canadian federal mandate to factor in upstream emissions during the environmental impact assessment of fossil fuel energy projects. We employ a cooperative game-theoretic model and propose the nucleolus mechanism to apportion upstream emission responsibilities. The nucleolus allocation avoids the distortionary effects of double counting and exhibits a certain contextually desirable consistency property. We develop a polynomial-time algorithm to compute the nucleolus and further provide an implementation framework in terms of two easily stated and verifiable policies. We also provide lower-bound guarantees on the welfare gains it delivers to firms and on the incentives it offers them to adopt emission abatement technologies. In the third essay, we consider the operations of bike-sharing systems. Despite their growing popularity as a sustainable urban transport option, bike-share programs in several cities such as Seattle and Montreal have run into financial difficulties due to low ridership and high operational costs. Further, their environmental benefits are ambiguous since a majority of users are observed to substitute from public transport or walking. We develop a consumer transport mode choice model to analyze the economic and environmental implications of three key operational levers: the pricing structure, station coverage and density, and frequency of rebalancing operations.

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