Recent literature on sustainable logistics networks points to two important questions: (i) How to spot the preferred solution(s) balancing environmental and business concerns? (ii) How to improve the understanding of the trade-offs between these two dimensions? We posit that a visual exploration of the efficient frontier and trade-offs between profitability and environmental impacts are particularly suitable to answer these two questions. The visual representation of the efficient frontier, however, presents two challenges. The first is to obtain a good approximation for such frontier without enumerating all extreme efficient solutions. The second is to obtain a good visual representation of the efficient frontier. We propose a two-phased heuristic to handle these two problems. The algorithm is designed for the multi-objective linear problem with three objectives: minimize costs, cumulative energy demand and waste in a reverse logistics network. We illustrate our approach by designing a complex recycling logistics network in Germany.

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Keywords Eco-efficiency, closed-loop supply chains, multi-objective programming, optimization, sustainable supply chains
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal European Journal of Operational Research
Quariguasi Frota Neto, J, Walther, G, Bloemhof-Ruwaard, J.M, van Nunen, J.A.E.E, & Spengler, T. (2009). A methodology for assessing eco-efficiency in logistics networks. European Journal of Operational Research, 193(3), 670–682. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2007.06.056