UBC Undergraduate Research

Policy Recommendations of Carbon Footprints Reduction for AMS Supply Chain : Replacing Products with High Agricultural Emissions Song, Yiran; Shi, Rachel; Han, Mellisa; Wei, Vickena


The UBC AMS is a large community that offers a variety of services to UBC students and employees. While it caters for the whole campus, a huge amount of carbon emissions are also generated in the supply chain. We are concerned about this because greenhouse gasses may have an influence on climate changes and the environment. Among all the stages in the supply chain, agricultural production is the one that has been found to be the major source of emissions. Hence, to help AMS build a eco-friendlier supply chain, we consider replacing products that are high in agricultural emissions by their alternatives. To do so, we conducted an audit on AMS’ products and calculated their total carbon footprints. We then regressed the total carbon footprints on food types, controlling for distances, weights, and packaging materials. This would allow us to estimate the agricultural impact of each product. Based on the results, we found coffee and dairy are two types that have high agricultural emissions. Consequently, we recommended replacing those by tea and vegan milk, respectively. Moreover, we have also proposed a supplementary plan to further reduce the emission, that is, replacing white chocolate with dark chocolate. For each of the three pairs mentioned above, we stimulated the reductions in overall emissions when substituting different proportions of the high-emission types (i.e. 15%, 20%, and 25% for coffee and dairy; 30%, 40%, 50% for white chocolate), so that AMS can choose the plan that best suits their needs. Although there are still some limitations such as insufficient data and omitted variables, our findings are robust to different assumptions and specifications. We hope that while AMS is balancing between the demand and supply of their foods, our research can shed some light on possible ways to lower their emissions. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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