Optimising economic, environmental, and social objectives: a goal-programming approach in the food sector

David Oglethorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The business-decision environment is increasingly complicated by the emergence of competing economic, environmental, and social goals, a notion typified by the current pressures of global economic instability and climate-change targets. Trade-offs are often unclear and contributions by different actors and stakeholders in the supply chain may be unequal but, due to the interdependencies between businesses and stakeholders in relation to total environmental or social impact, a whole chain, simultaneous, and strategic approach is required. After a review of relevant literature and the identification of knowledge gaps, the author introduces and illustrates the use of goal programming as a technique that could facilitate this approach and uses real case evidence for alternative food supply chain strategies, at local, regional, and national levels. It is shown that the method can simplify a complex simultaneous decision situation into a useful and constructive decision and planning framework. Results show how a priori beliefs may be challenged and how operational and resource efficiency could be improved through the use of such a model, which enables a broad stakeholder appreciation and the opportunity to explore and test new environmental or social challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1254
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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