chapter  18
Evaluating Sustainability of Process, Supply Chain, and Enterprise: A Bio-Based Industry Case Study
ByIskandar Halim, Arief Adhitya, R. Srinivasan
Pages 14

The issues of sustainable production have gained significant attention and have become an important business factor in the chemical industry. Sustainable production can be defined as the creation of goods and services using processes and systems in a sustainable manner. This means that the activities involved should be nonpolluting; conserving energy and natural resources; economically viable; safe and healthful for workers, communities, and consumers; as well as socially and creatively rewarding for all working people [1]. In recent years, incidents affecting sustainability performances have hit many chemical companies hard and have appeared in the front news quite frequently [2]. Among the major incidents are environmental damages caused by emissions, presence of hazardous chemicals in products, unsafe plant operations, and labor disputes. Since most companies outsource far more than 50% of their incoming materials and services [2], there is thus a pressing need for them to evaluate the sustainability issues affecting their operations. This needs to be done beyond just the process/plant level. There is a need to include the entire supply chain of the enterprise, starting from material sourcing to manufacturing, storage, logistics, and distribution. Within the discipline of chemical engineering, such challenges might be best addressed through process systems engineering (PSE) approaches [3]. This is because, unlike the reductionist approach of other specialties, PSE adopts a holistic or system-level view of a plant or an enterprise. Such a system-level view is crucial for understanding the complex interactions between each component of sustainable production and the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of the plant or enterprise.