We introduce several new resilience metrics for quantifying the resilience of critical material supply chains to disruptions and validate these metrics using the 2010 rare earth element (REE) crisis as a case study. Our method is a novel application of Event Sequence Analysis, supplemented with interviews of actors across the entire supply chain. We discuss resilience mechanisms in quantitative terms−time lags, response speeds, and maximum magnitudes−and in light of cultural differences between Japanese and European corporate practice. This quantification is crucial if resilience is ever to be taken into account in criticality assessments and a step toward determining supply and demand elasticities in the REE supply chain. We find that the REE system showed resilience mainly through substitution and increased non-Chinese primary production, with a distinct role for stockpiling. Overall, annual substitution rates reached 10% of total demand. Non-Chinese primary production ramped up at a speed of 4% of total market volume per year. The compound effect of these mechanisms was that recovery from the 2010 disruption took two years. The supply disruption did not nudge a system toward an appreciable degree of recycling. This finding has important implications for the circular economy concept, indicating that quite a long period of sustained material constraints will be necessary for a production-consumption system to naturally evolve toward a circular configuration.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b05751, hdl.handle.net/1765/123092
Journal Environmental Science and Technology
Sprecher, B., Daigo, I., Spekkink, W, Vos, M., Kleijn, R.H, Murakami, S., & Kramer, G.J. (2017). Novel indicators for the quantification of resilience in critical material supply chains. Environmental Science and Technology, 51(7), 3860–3870. doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b05751