Enhancing the environmental sustainability of emergency humanitarian medical cold chains with renewable energy sources

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Emergency humanitarian medical cold chains (HMCCs) depend heavily on their supporting energy services due to end-to-end temperature requirements in volatile disaster situations. Most energy sources powering emergency HMCCs are fossil-based due to well established processes, regardless of their environmental impact. In response to the recent energy crisis and climate change, a solution to tackle this issue relies on renewable energy sources (RES), whose use has increased to promote climate resilient development. Nevertheless, RESs’ capacity to replace conventional energy services in emergency HMCCs remains poorly understood. This study aims to investigate opportunities for, and barriers to, increasing the use of RESs in emergency HMCCs, thereby enhancing their environmental sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach: Based on a review of academic and practice literature, interviews with expert practitioners on emergency HMCCs and sustainable energy, and case study examples, this research aimed to analytically generalise the phenomenon by investigating opportunities for, and barriers to, increasing the use of RESs in emergency HMCCs. The phenomenon is illustrated in a novel framework of typical HMCC, that forms a contextual basis for future research.

Findings: A conceptual framework of typical emergency HMCC shows energy-consuming sections where RES can best be increased. This research is put forth in four propositions to manage the opportunities and barriers of the transition.

Originality/value: This research is, to the best of the author’s knowledge, the first attempt to operationalise sustainability by linking energy with HMCCs’ logistical activities in complex emergency settings. The cross-findings from literature, example cases and interviews together demonstrate the need to increase the use of RES in HMCCs, and how to do it.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management
ISSN2042-6747
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10.01.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • Cold Chain
  • Humanitarian supply chain
  • sustainable supply chain
  • Renewable Energy
  • Humanitarian Energy
  • Emergency Response

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics

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